Study shows capacity exists to screen population within one year
More than 41 million Americans who are candidates for colorectal cancer screening have not been screened for this second-leading cancer killer, the first time the unscreened population has been quantified. According to a study published today in the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) journal Gastroenterology, sufficient capacity exists to screen the unscreened population within one year using fecal occult blood testing (FOBT) followed by diagnostic colonoscopy for positive tests.
Guidelines of multiple agencies and professional societies underscore the importance of colorectal cancer screening for all individuals 50 years of age and older. Approved tests include barium enema, FOBT, flexible sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy. Each screening option has advantages and disadvantages. "Given the enormous number of people who are eligible for screening but have not been screened, it is clear that regardless of the test, colorectal cancer screening is underutilized," notes Bernard Levin, MD, AGA spokesperson. "Men and women who are otherwise fit should be screened for colorectal polyps and cancer because colorectal cancer can be prevented by polypectomy and cured when detected early."
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