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

ve Services Task Force (USPSTF) provides its only Grade 'A' recommendation of cancer screening to colorectal cancer screens.

Yet colorectal cancer screenings remain underutilized as only 40 percent of colorectal cancers are diagnosed at an early stage, according to the latest figures released by the American Cancer Society. The Institute of Medicine cites poor provider reimbursement as one of the reasons for this underutilization as well.

"The American College of Gastroenterology continues to be deeply concerned that the lifesaving potential of colorectal screening tests is unrealized. The stark reality is that screening tests remain widely underutilized," commented Dr. Quigley.

At a time when the overall trend in colorectal cancer mortality is declining because of the use of screening tests, racial minorities, uninsured Americans, and Medicare patients who should be tested, are not being screened appropriately. Recent studies reveal that they are diagnosed with more advanced cancers compared to patients with private insurance. "We can point to impressive milestones indicating a trend moving in the right direction, yet much work remains. We will continue to champion the lifesaving potential of colonoscopy and work to expand access to lifesaving screening tests," said Quigley.

The American College of Gastroenterology is committed to national policy changes to improve access to colorectal screening and increased use of these proven prevention strategies, including reversing Medicare's massive cuts to reimbursement for these tests since the benefit was first introduced, as well as to payments in ambulatory surgery centers where many screening tests are performed. Congress is considering important colorectal screening legislation introduced by Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) as the "Supporting ColoRectal Examination and Education Now" or SCREEN Act (S. 1511). Th
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SOURCE American College of Gastroenterology
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