Colon cancer testing may be leveling off in US

ATLANTA (AP) — After years of steady increases, testing for colon cancer may be leveling off, a federal report suggests.

A large survey done last year found that about two-thirds of Americans ages 50 to 75 have had the recommended screenings for colorectal cancer. That's the same percentage from 2010, apparently marking the first year in at least a decade there was no increase.

It's not clear why rates may be slowing, said Dr. Marcus Plescia of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC report was released Tuesday.

"Even the hint of a leveling off is very concerning," he said.

Screening rates in the U.S. had been rising steadily, up from 54 percent in 2002. The jump was attributed partly to the "Katie Couric effect," named for the former "Today" show host who lost her husband to colon cancer and then had a colonoscopy on television.

The test is the most common of the three screening options for people 50 and older. It is recommended once every 10 years. Doctors use a long flexible tube to spot and remove polyps before they turn cancerous.

Colonoscopy has been credited with making an impact: colorectal cancer death rates have been dropping for more than 20 years. But the test can be uncomfortable, expensive and require taking a day off from work.

Another option is a test that checks only the lower colon. But the easiest choice is a home stool test done annually, which health officials say can be just as good for most people. Doctors should work harder to suggest it, said CDC Director Tom Frieden.

"The best test is the test that gets done," Frieden said.

The national telephone survey of more than 200,000 Americans is done every two years. Last year's survey included cellphones for the first time, which may have affected the results. But other research has also suggested screening rates are climbing less rapidly, CDC officials said.

___

Online:

CDC report: http://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns
Associated Press
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Join the Conversation!

To comment, the following rules must be followed:

  • No Obscenity, Profanity, Vulgarity, Racism or Violent Descriptions
  • No Negative Community Comparisons
  • No Fighting, Name-calling, or Personal Attacks
  • Multiple Accounts are Not Allowed
  • Stay on Story Topic

Comments may be monitored for inappropriate content, but the station is under no legal obligation to do so.
If you believe a comment violates the above rules, please use the Flagging Tool to alert a Moderator.
Flagging does not guarantee removal.

Multiple violations may result in account suspension.
Decisions to suspend or unsuspend accounts are made by Station Moderators.
Links require admin approval before posting.
Questions may be sent to webmaster@wvlt-tv.com. Please provide detailed information.

powered by Disqus

WVLT VOLUNTEER TV

6450 Papermill Drive Knoxville, TN 37919 Phone - (865) 450-8888; Fax - (865) 450-8869
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2014 WVLT-TV Inc. - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 230816691 - local8now.com/a?a=230816691