Colon Cancer Testing Leveling Off In U.S.


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According to the Center for Disease Control, "Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second leading cancer killer of men and women in the US, following lung cancer." Why then are more people not having the necessary screenings? The study shows that one in three adults in the 50 and 75-year-old age group have not been getting their recommended screenings.

It seems it is not from a lack of money, because studies show that 2 of every 3 adults, who have not been tested for CRC, have health insurance that could pay for the test.


There was hope that more people were getting tested each year seeing as though the numbers rose from 54 percent in 2002 to 65 percent between in 2010. However, judging by last year's numbers, they are no longer increasing, but leveling off.

According to the National Cancer Institute, colon cancer is defined as "cancer that forms in the tissues of the colon (the longest part of the large intestine). Most colon cancers are adenocarcinomas (cancers that begin in cells that make and release mucus and other fluids)." In 2013, there were 102,480 new cases of colon cancer.

CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden says the decrease in testing is "very disturbing". Many fear the most common test, the colonoscopy. However, Frieden says there are other, less invasive, tests that can be done at home, and they are equally as effective as the colonoscopy. "Colonoscopy is clearly preferred for high-risk people," said Frieden. "But for others, there's not a huge difference. The bottom line is the best test is the test that gets done."


Image via Wikimedia Commons