New survey shows minorities, children missing cancer screenings and vaccinations

52% of adults missing lifesaving screenings to prevent cancer are not rescheduling them

Published on January 25, 2021

Updated on September 24, 2021

Contact: Lisa Berry Edwards

February is Cancer Prevention Month and vaccinations are making headlines every day across America—yet lifesaving cancer screenings and vaccinations to prevent cancer are being missed. The second benchmark survey conducted by the Prevent Cancer Foundation, the only nonprofit organization focused solely on cancer prevention and early detection, shows a disturbing trend: Americans are missing routine health appointments and screenings.

“This second wave of the survey confirms our worst fears—the pandemic has made people more afraid to go to their doctors. While exposure to the virus is an understandable concern, people need to know that missing appointments increases their risk for other serious health issues, including preventable cancers,” said Carolyn “Bo” Aldigé, Founder and CEO of the Prevent Cancer Foundation.

The new survey released by the Prevent Cancer Foundation reports: 

  • More than half (52%) of American adults who had an in-person appointment scheduled missed, postponed and/or cancelled routine medical appointments because of COVID-19.
  • 2 in 3 Americans are not getting recommended cancer screenings and 32% are not aware of which screenings they should be getting.
  • Minorities (at every age group) are most likely to be missing their appointments: African Americans (41%) and Hispanics (40%) are most likely to have missed, postponed, or cancelled a health appointment. African American and Hispanic women are most likely to miss a mammogram or PAP/HPV test.
  • 19% of parents say they have missed their children’s scheduled vaccinations.
  • Nearly 1/3 of Americans who had a physical scheduled missed their appointment and 1/4 who had a dentist appointment scheduled missed their appointment.
  • Fear of exposure to COVID-19 is the #1 reason why people are missing appointments.
  • More than 6 in 10 Americans who missed appointments say they plan to contact the doctor’s office to reschedule. Nearly one in 10 say they do not plan to reschedule. 
  • 35% say they are likely to take a colorectal cancer screening test at home.
  • Annual physicals, dentist appointments, mammograms, PAP/HPV tests and skin checks were the top missed appointments.

Aldigé continued, “This campaign elevates the importance of getting health screenings ‘back on the books.’ People need to reschedule their physicals and routine cancer screenings—and keep those appointments.”

The Prevent Cancer Foundation also offers tips on how to safely keep doctors’ appointments and provides resources for the recommended cancer screenings for your age.

There are many ways to reduce your cancer risk, including never smoking, eating a healthy diet, getting at least 30 minutes of physical activity at least 5 days a week and protecting your skin from the sun. The Prevent Cancer Foundation encourages everyone to make their health a priority. Prevention and early detection matter.

Back on the Books is being sponsored by Exact Sciences and No-Shave November.

About the Prevent Cancer Foundation®

The Prevent Cancer Foundation® is celebrating 35 years as the only U.S. nonprofit organization focused solely on saving lives across all populations through cancer prevention and early detection.  Through research, education, outreach and advocacy, we have helped countless people avoid a cancer diagnosis or detect their cancer early enough to be successfully treated.

The Foundation is rising to meet the challenge of reducing cancer deaths by 40% by 2035. To achieve this, we are committed to investing $20 million for innovative technologies to detect cancer early and advance multi-cancer screening, $10 million to expand cancer screening and vaccination access to medically underserved communities, and $10 million to educate the public about screening and vaccination options.

For more information, please visit


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