Colon Cancer Screening: There’s an Appointment Waiting for You

Despite being one of the most preventable and treatable forms of cancer, colon cancer remains the second deadliest cancer among American men and women today. Each year, more than 136,000 individuals are diagnosed with colon cancer, and over 50,000 of them will die from this disease.

In an effort to reduce colon cancer as a public health problem, the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable has created “80% by 2018”, an initiative to increase the colon cancer screening rate among eligible adults to 80 percent by the year 2018.

New research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that this initiative isn’t just admirable, it’s doable. Using a mathematical modeling study, researchers determined that healthcare facilities in the United States have the capacity to perform the extra screenings needed to meet this goal.

Djenaba Joseph, M.D., MPH, medical director of the colorectal cancer control program at the CDC, and colleagues used survey data from healthcare facilities that perform colonoscopies to determine the number of screenings performed annually as well as the capacity to perform additional screenings. The researchers found that 15 million colonoscopies were performed annually in 2012 and an additional 10 million colonoscopies could be performed yearly throughout the country.

Using fecal immunochemical tests (FIT) as the primary screening method, researchers determined that 47 million FIT procedures and 5.1 million colonoscopies would need to be performed annually between 2014 and 2024 to screen the eligible population. If a program used colonoscopies as the only screening method, approximately 11 million to 13 million procedures would need to be performed annually to screen the eligible population (Source: Healio).

With current screening rates at about 58 percent, there is still progress to be made in order to reach 80 percent by 2018. If you or someone you love is not up-to-date with colon cancer screening, schedule a consult with a healthcare provider today. Routine screening is one of the most powerful steps you can take to protect yourself against one of America’s deadliest cancers.