Colon cancer screening rates can be raised by CTC availability

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The CTC (CT colonography) Working Group has reiterated the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention’s (CDC) call for added colon cancer screening and increased access to non-invasive procedures like CTC to facilitate increased screening rates.

“CTC is a way to increase screening rates…. [CTC] can be a life-saving option for those people because it is just as effective as traditional colonoscopy but is less expensive, minimally invasive, requires no sedation and has fewer potential complications,” said James H. Thrall, MD, chair of the American College of Radiology Board of Chancellors.

Screening rates saw an increase from 2002 to 2008, from 52 to 63 percent, noted the report. However, “screening rates are still far too low,” said the group, especially among particular populations, such as African-Americans and Hispanics, as well as those with low income and education and the uninsured.

The working group found that access to CTC can raise screening levels, and in addition, the method has been proven to be as effective as traditional colonoscopy at detecting colorectal polyps and cancer and is more effective than other screening methods including flexible sigmoidoscopy and fecal occult blood tests, as noted in the report.

“Barriers created by the federal government and insurance companies that are stymieing patient access to effective and life-saving screening options need to be addressed expeditiously,” the group concluded.