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Obama Speech Heralds Prevention Power of Screening Tests Like Colonoscopy
Date:9/10/2009

Gastroenterologists Applaud President's Call for Coverage

BETHESDA, Md., Sept. 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Gastrointestinal specialists from the American College of Gastroenterology applaud President Obama's call to cover preventive screening tests, such as breast cancer exams and colonoscopy. In his health care speech to a joint session of Congress last night, the President argued that "there's no reason we shouldn't be catching diseases like breast cancer and colon cancer before they get worse. That makes sense."

The American College of Gastroenterology has long supported the lifesaving potential of screening by colonoscopy specifically because it can detect and remove pre-cancerous polyps and thereby prevent the development of colorectal cancer.

"We know screening for colorectal cancer is good health policy, and makes good economic sense," commented ACG President Dr. Eamonn Quigley. Studies have shown that for every dollar spent by Medicare for this life-saving test cuts about $3 in long-term medical costs. The New England Journal of Medicine says that a colonoscopy colorectal cancer screening is one of the few preventive services shown to reduce future health care costs.

"That's a good return on investment in any business - especially when you're saving lives. When screening procedures detect colon cancer early, nine of ten patients beat the disease. In the absence of screening, colon cancer is usually found too late and many patients die. Those are starkly different outcomes that we have the power to change," added Dr. Quigley.

Colonoscopy is one of the most powerful preventive tools in clinical medicine because of its excellent sensitivity in detecting polyps and its potential for removing them and breaking the sequence of polyp to cancer in a single diagnostic and therapeutic intervention. The U.S. Preventi
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SOURCE American College of Gastroenterology
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