Colorectal cancer screening

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Colorectal cancer screening

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Welcome to Public Health Moment from the University of Minnesota. Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S. Yet, national screening rates for the disease remain relatively low. A federal expert panel recently recommended ways to increase the screening rate as a way to ultimately reduce deaths from the disease. Panel member Beth Virnig, a University of Minnesota health policy professor, explains.<Beth: “Our panel was concerned about the current rates of colorectal cancer screening, which are low and are much lower than screening rates for breast or cervical cancer. And, as well as signs that colorectal cancer rates are not declining and that we are not catching a high enough percentage of cancers at the very early stage when they are most treatable. “> Current recommendations are for people beginning at age 50 to have an annual fecal occult blood testing, OR a sigmoidoscopy every five years combined with a blood test every three years, OR a colonoscopy every 10 years. Virnig says this complexity makes it important for doctors and health providers to have a clear reminder system for patients. <Beth: “It is clear, particularly for tests such as colonoscopy, that physicians are very important. And so working with physicians to have them or their offices institute procedures or reminder systems is going to be vitally important.”> For John Finnegan and Public Health Moment, I’m Mark Engebretson.



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Engebretson, Mark; Beth Virnig. (2010). Colorectal cancer screening. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy,

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