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Colorectal cancer screening rates on rise among Medicare beneficiaries due to expansion of coverage
Date:5/3/2011

he barriers which are causing these disparities in screening rates among the Medicare population."

In 2005, only 50 percent of U.S. adults age 50 years or older reported having a fecal occult blood test within the past year and/or an endoscopy within the past 10 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Health Interview Survey. "Many people age 65 years and older who are at risk of developing the disease are not getting screened even though they have access to screening services through Medicare," said White.

Colorectal cancer is the third most frequently diagnosed non-skin cancer in men and women in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). The risk of developing colorectal cancer is slightly higher in men than in women and it is estimated that more than 50,000 Americans will die from the disease this year. Regular colorectal cancer screening or testing is recommended by the ACS as the most important way to prevent the disease. However, despite these national recommendations, prevention and early detection, screening rates remain low.

"There needs to be more emphasis on evidence-based strategies to continue to increase colorectal cancer screening rates among all Medicare beneficiaries," said White. She believes if there continues to be an increase in screening rates it is possible to attain the Healthy People 2020 goals and objectives of increasing colorectal cancer screening and eliminating racial disparities for some racial/ethnic groups.

White is currently an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


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Contact: Jade Waddy
jade.waddy@uth.tmc.edu
713-500-3307
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
Source:Eurekalert

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