Only 60% of the eligible U.S. population gets screened for colon cancer

Only 61% of the eligible population in the USA gets screened for this common cancer, according to The Lancet.

Here are some excerpts from the new guidance for colorectal cancer screening by the American College of Physicians (ACP):

- colorectal cancer screening should start at the age of 50 years for people at average risk, and at 40 years (or 10 years before the age of the youngest case of colorectal cancer in a family) for people at high risk

- stool-based tests, flexible sigmoidoscopy, and optical colonoscopy are all acceptable screening options for people at average risk

- the gold standard—optical colonoscopy—is recommended for people at high risk

- screening should be stopped for adults aged over 75 years or who have a life expectancy of less than 10 years

Colorectal cancer screening can lead to harmful outcomes such as perforation, bleeding, and false-negative results.

10 Questions You Need to Ask About Colonoscopy

From The NYTimes:

  1. Why is effective bowel preparation important?
  2. How can I maximize my chance of an effective bowel preparation?
  3. Are there certain medications I should stop taking before colonoscopy?
  4. Are all colonoscopists equally effective at finding polyps and cancers during colonoscopy?
  5. How can I be sure that my colonoscopist will do a careful examination?
  6. How can I reduce the risk of a complication during colonoscopy?
  7. Should I try colonoscopy without sedation?
  8. If I undergo sedation, should it be given by an anesthesiologist?
  9. Do all colonoscopists follow the same rules to determine when my colonoscopy should be repeated?
  10. Why aren’t the problems with the delivery of colonoscopy already solved?

Questions # 1, 2, 3, 6, 7 are very important, question # 10 probably not so much.

17% of U.S. hospitals now provide virtual colonoscopy

Medicare does not currently reimburse routine screening with virtual colonoscopy, but it does cover evaluations with "regular" colonoscopy.


New guidance for colorectal cancer screening. The Lancet, Volume 379, Issue 9820, Page 978, 17 March 2012.
Virtual Colonoscopy Gains in Popularity. Is It Right for You? TIME.
Colonoscopy Developer Dies at 94 - NYTimes - Dr. Wolff was unconventional and surely made headlines in his day.
When President Obama underwent his first-ever colon cancer screening last year, he chose virtual colonoscopy. USA Today.
Cleveland Clinic Colorectal Cancer Risk Assessment Tool. Get your score in 2 minutes (free).
Image source: Colon (anatomy), Wikipedia, public domain.

1 comment:

  1. Even in developed countries like US medical prophylactics cover only a part of the population. 60% is not a bad result.