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Many unclear on cancer tests

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Most Americans don't know when or how they should receive the major screening tests for cancer.

According to data from the Health Information National Trends Survey, most Americans know mammograms, Pap smears and colonoscopies are tests for cancer, but they don't know when those tests should be administered.

According to the data, 57 percent of women didn't know they should receive a mammogram to screen for breast cancer at age 40 to set a baseline for periodic testing. However, three quarters of women reported that their health-care providers had recommended mammograms and 74 percent of them had the procedure as recommended.

Most women were unaware they didn't need a Pap smear every year. Some 87 percent of those who had received a Pap smear reported they did so as part of an annual exam.

A colorectal screening is recommended for men and women over 50, again to provide a baseline for ongoing testing, but 54 percent of the Americans surveyed did not know that.