Increases in colorectal cancer screening in the US reported


The rate of colorectal cancer screening in the United States continues to increase, according to Thomas R. Frieden, MD, MPH, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

From 2002 to 2010, the percentage of people 50 to 75 years of age who were adequately screened for colorectal cancer increased from 52.3% to 65.4%, he reported. These statistics represent a further improvement on the 63% figure that was recorded in 2008.

“We’ve seen a remarkable increase in the level of screening until now,” Dr. Frieden said.

“Nearly two thirds of Americans were screened by 2010. However, there were still 22 million people in the age group of 50 to 75 who should have been screened, would have benefited from screening and weren’t screened. Colon cancer is largely preventable.”

“Because of the increased screening, as well as other improvements in our health system and health status, colon cancer rates have decreased by more than 10% over the past 5 years,” Dr. Frieden said.

In absolute numbers, this decrease translated into nearly 66,000 fewer people having colon cancer and more than 30,000 people not dying from colon cancer who otherwise would have, he added. “About half of both of those decreases were because of increased colon cancer screening,” Dr. Frieden explained.

The CDC director used the press teleconference to remind reporters of the basics of colorectal cancer screening.

“If you are between 50 and 75 years of age or are at high risk for colon cancer because of a strong family history or other reasons, you should get screened for colon cancer,” he continued.