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Colorectal Cancer Screening May Be Leveling Off

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A recent study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reaffirms that colorectal cancer is the second most lethal cancer in the nation, and that most colorectal cancers can be prevented. Further, despite the progress of groups such as Preventing Colorectal Cancer to educate Americans on the importance of screening, the study indicates 23 million people between the ages of 50 and 75 have never been screened for colorectal cancer.

The report, which analyzed screening rates among different populations, is a stark reminder that the efforts to educate and motivate consumers to get screened must continue. People need to reach out to those who, for one reason or another, have not undergone a screening.

Notable Trends

On a positive note, the study indicates the percentage of U.S. adults current with recommended colorectal cancer screening increased from 54% in 2002 to 65% in 2010. Colonoscopies, the gold standard of colorectal cancer screening, have been recognized as the catalyst for this increase.

Also, the gap in colorectal cancer screening rates between white and black populations no longer exists as both were screened at the same rate.

Other noteworthy trends include:

  • Males, Hispanics, American Indian/Alaska Natives and those who live in non-metropolitan areas have the lowest screening rates.

  • A high correlation exists between level of education, annual household incomes, and incidence of screening.

  • The percentage of respondents who have never been screened was greater among those without insurance coverage (55%) and without a regular physician (61%) than those covered by health insurance (24%) and that have primary care physician (23.5%).

  • Many individuals were not aware they needed to be screened nor were they notified when a screening was recommended.

Some additional findings:

  • The colonoscopy is the predominant method for colorectal cancer screening in the United States.

  • Many physicians believe colorectal cancer colonoscopy is the superior screening option and offer this screening option exclusively to their patients.

  • Primary care physicians are the most common source for a colorectal cancer screening recommendation.

Keep on Pressing

The CDC's Colorectal Cancer Control Program established a goal of increasing the CRC screening rate to 80% by 2014. How can we move the dial from 65% to 80%? The combined efforts of primary care providers, insurance carriers, and national accreditation and government organizations will be instrumental in providing pathways of information and support to motivate individuals to undergo this potentially lifesaving procedure.

Roadblocks have been removed now that the law mandates health insurance coverage for the majority of the U.S. population, and health insurance policies are required to pay for colorectal cancer screening colonoscopies as a standard preventative measure. The opportunity to have this screening has never been more affordable with little or no out-of-pocket costs to the patient.

Aside from the cost, many people feel some level of anxiety associated with colonoscopies. The introduction of propofol now allows patients the opportunity for a pain-free procedure with no memory of the event. While not all insurance providers recognize this as a reimbursable expense, the cost savings of a screening versus treatment for Stage IV colorectal cancer is profound. Efforts to address this issue with insurance suppliers are ongoing.

Finally, statistics and analyses can motivate us, but it is up to everyone to spread the word and be the catalysts for promoting colorectal cancer screening.

 

Randall H.H. Madry
Preventing Colorectal Cancer

PCC Names Champions of CRC Prevention

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Preventing Colorectal Cancer (PCC) announces the recipients of the 2014 PCC Champion Award for Colorectal Cancer Prevention, an honor the not-for-profit organization established in 2011 to recognize individuals, groups and companies that provide either exceptionally high standards of care or that most effectively advocate for the prevention and early detection of colorectal cancer.

Cambia Health Solutions, headquartered in Portland, OR, is receiving the award for its ongoing efforts to remove artificial barriers that otherwise depress the number of patients who undergo potentially life-saving colorectal cancer screening colonoscopies. Chris4Life Colon Cancer Foundation, Vienna, VA, and Greater Chattanooga Colon Cancer Foundation, Chattanooga, TN, are recipients of the 2014 PCC Champion Award for providing dynamic community-based advocacy programs. Aasma Shaukat, MD, gastroenterologist and clinical researcher based in Minneapolis, MN, is recognized for her research involving colorectal cancer screening.

“We want to spotlight those who share PCC’s deep commitment to high-quality screening and display exemplary support of the fight against colorectal cancer,” says C. Taney Hamill, PCC board member and principal, Silopanna Consulting, Annapolis, MD. “The clinical and financial benefits of a colonoscopy are well-supported in the health care industry as a reliable screening tool to reduce the incidence of colorectal cancer.”

About the 2014 Champion Award recipients:

  • Cambia Health Solutions: Through Regence, Cambia Health Solutions has favored policies ensuring members receive no-cost share benefits when a screening colonoscopy includes removal of a polyp. In these instances, Cambia pays for the colonoscopy claim and associated charges, including anesthesia, prescription, and lab work. Cambia has been a leader in advocating for expanded patient access to colorectal cancer screening in state legislatures. As a key health care stakeholder in multiple states, Cambia is playing an integral role in raising awareness and access to life-saving colonoscopies.

  • Chris4Life Colon Cancer Foundation: The principal goal of the Chris4Life Colon Cancer Foundation is to permanently eliminate the threat of colon cancer through discovery of a cure. Until a cure is found, Chris4Life is committed to significantly improving the treatment for patients and caregivers and to dramatically raise awareness about colon cancer in general. The organization sponsors the Love Your Butt awareness campaign with a mission to encourage people to open up and talk about their bottom or create a “call to action” for individuals to get screened.

  • Greater Chattanooga Colon Cancer Foundation (GCCCF): GCCCF was formed in 2012 to raise awareness of colon cancer and ways to prevent it. Each year, hundreds of people participate in the organization’s Rump Run to raise funds to support local projects to help increase awareness of CRC, improve access to screening and offer support to those impacted by the disease.

  • Aasma Shaukat, MD, gastroenterologist and clinical researcher, Minneapolis VA Medical Center: Dr. Shaukat is a dedicated clinical researcher and advocate for colon cancer screening and prevention with an excellent track record. Recognized as a national and international leader in the field, she continues to make significant contributions to colon cancer prevention efforts through her compassionate approach, enthusiasm and innovative research.

“The selection committee felt that Chris4Life Colon Cancer Foundation, Greater Chattanooga Colon Cancer Foundation, Dr. Shaukat and Cambia Health Solutions have gone above and beyond to promote colorectal cancer screenings in an effort to save lives,” says Stanford R. Plavin, MD, vice chair of PCC and president and managing partner, Ambulatory Anesthesia of Atlanta. “Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in minority populations, and this year’s winners have achieved results consistent with the highest national benchmarks while serving a very large community.”

To view past Champion Award recipients, visit www.preventingcolorectalcancer.org

 

Randall H.H. Madry
Preventing Colorectal Cancer

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