USPSTF urged to reconsider CTC recommendations

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The CT Colonography (CTC) Coalition has called on the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPTF) to reconsider its recommendation regarding virtual colorectal cancer screening, following the statement issued by the task force maintaining that further research is still required to make a conclusive recommendation regarding CTC.

“Data show that when CTC is offered in addition to other colorectal screening options, screening compliance rates dramatically increase," said CTC Coalition member Andrew Spiegel, CEO of the Colon Cancer Alliance. “That is why we believe the USPSTF should endorse CTC.”

The letter, which was submitted in response to the Aug. 5 statement in the Federal Register, urged the USPSTF to review existing data on CTC, which has shown that the method offers patients a less costly, minimally invasive option that increases screening rates and effectively detects cancers early.

In its letter, the coalition included data from the National Naval Medical Center/ Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., citing that 40 percent of patients have chosen to undergo CTC and 37 percent of patients who underwent colon cancer screening  have said they would not have been screened without CTC. Additionally, the letter proposed that similar effects have been noted at other institutions, as screening rates for colorectal cancer have more than doubled per quarter over a five-year period at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, following the introduction of CTC as an additional screening option.  

Moreover, a 2008 multicenter national CTC trial by the American College of Radiology Imaging Network (ACRIN) found that CTC is comparable to standard colonoscopy in its ability to accurately detect cancer and precancerous polyps, wrote the coalition. The coalition stressed that it is essential that patients and doctors utilize the most effective services available to detect cancer early and prevent deaths. 

“Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. … Yet, Medicare doesn’t cover CTC and the USPSTF has yet to recommend it as a safe and effective colon cancer screening tool,” said Spiegel.