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Recent studies confirm significant underuse of colorectal cancer screening
Date:12/17/2007

OAK BROOK, Ill. December 17, 2007 Two recently released studies confirm an alarming reality, that a majority of Americans who should be getting screened for colorectal cancer are not. Men and women over the age of 50 should be screened for colorectal cancer, but according to a study in the journal Cancer, researchers found that among an assessment of Medicare beneficiaries between 1998 and 2004, only 25.4 percent of people were screened, despite Medicare coverage for colorectal cancer screening. According to figures released by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, only half of all Americans age 50 and over have had a screening colonoscopy.

These numbers are very discouraging and, unfortunately they confirm previous studies that show not enough people are getting screened for colorectal cancer. This disease is preventable and treatable when caught in its early stages, and screening is a covered benefit for those eligible for Medicare, said Grace Elta, MD, president of the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE). We know that screening works. According to a recent study by leading cancer groups, including the American Cancer Society and the CDC, deaths from colorectal cancer dropped nearly 5 percent between 2002 and 2004. Prevention through screening and the removal of precancerous polyps were among the reasons credited for the decline. The ASGE encourages all people age 50 and older to talk to their doctor about getting screened for colorectal cancer.

Colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in men and women and the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, killing nearly 56,000 people each year. Many of those deaths could be prevented with earlier detection. The five-year relative survival rate for people whose colorectal cancer is treated in an early stage is greater than 90 percent. Unfortunately, only 39 percent of colorectal cancers are found at that early stage. O
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Contact: Anne Brownsey
abrownsey@asge.org
630-570-5635
American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy
Source:Eurekalert

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