Older Adults Dying of Colorectal Cancer Due to Lack of Screening
IAbout one in three adults aged 50 to 75 years have not been tested for colorectal cancer despite research that shows colorectal cancer screening tests saves lives, screening rates remain too low.
“There are more than 20 million adults in this country who haven’t had any recommended screening for colorectal cancer and who may therefore get cancer and die from a preventable tragedy,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “Screening for colorectal cancer is effective and can save your life.”
Colorectal cancer is the second leading cancer killer among men and women in the United States, after lung cancer. Screening tests can prevent cancer or detect it at an early stage, when treatment can be highly effective. Adults aged 50 years and older should get tested with one or a combination of these screening tests:
Fecal occult blood test or fecal immune-chemical test done at home every year,
Flexible sigmoidoscopy, done every five years, with FOBT/FIT done every three years,
Colonoscopy done every 10 years.
A colonoscopy can detect cancer early, and it can find precancerous polyps so they can be removed before they turn into cancer. An FOBT/FIT is a simple at-home test that can detect cancer early by identifying blood in the stool, a possible sign of cancer. People are not always offered a choice of colorectal cancer tests, but studies have shown that people who are able to choose the test they prefer are more likely to get the test done..
The authors noted that increasing use of all tests may increase screening rates. Furthermore, research shows that more people may get tested if health care providers used an organized approach to identify people who need to be screened; contact them at their home or community setting; advise them of each test; and carefully monitor to make sure they complete their test.