Screening has prevented half a million colorectal cancers

An estimated half a million cancers were prevented by colorectal cancer screening in the United States from 1976 to 2009, report researchers from the Cancer Outcomes, Public Policy, and Effectiveness Research (COPPER) Center at Yale Cancer Center. Their study appears in the journal Cancer.

During this more than 30-year time span, as increasing numbers of men and women underwent cancer screening tests—including testing, sigmoidoscopies, and colonoscopies—colorectal cancer rates declined significantly, the researchers found.

The Yale COPPER team studied the incidence data from the National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results database, along with its Cancer Trends Progress Report. Researchers found that the incidence of late-stage cancer decreased from 118 cases per 100,000 people over the age of 50, to 74 cases per 100,000. They also found that the incidence of early-stage cancers declined from 77 to 67 cases per 100,000 people over the age of 50, during a period where cancer screening increased from 34.8% to 66.1%. After adjusting for trends in cancer incidence, the authors calculated that there was a reduction of 550,000 cancers during this period of increasing screening.

"These numbers represent real patients and families who have been spared the trauma of a cancer diagnosis and treatment," said the study's senior author, James Yu, M.D., assistant professor of therapeutic radiology at Yale School of Medicine. "Colorectal cancer screening is one of the major successes in cancer care."

These findings are particularly significant in light of recent controversy surrounding mammography screening for breast cancer, and suggestions that it may result in false positive diagnoses and overtreatment, note the researchers. "The efficacy of is important to highlight, especially at a time when there has been a national discussion about screening for other types of cancer," said Cary Gross, M.D., a co-author on the study and director of the Yale COPPER Center.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

The fine line between breast cancer and normal tissues

5 hours ago

Up to 40 percent of patients undergoing breast cancer surgery require additional operations because surgeons may fail to remove all the cancerous tissue in the initial operation. However, researchers at Brigham ...

Pancreatic cancer risk not higher with diabetes Rx DPP-4i

6 hours ago

(HealthDay)—There is no increased short-term pancreatic cancer risk with dipeptidyl-peptidase-4 inhibitors (DPP-4i) compared to sulfonylureas (SU) and thiazolidinediones (TZD) for glycemic control, according ...

Good bowel cleansing is key for high-quality colonoscopy

9 hours ago

The success of a colonoscopy is closely linked to good bowel preparation, with poor bowel prep often resulting in missed precancerous lesions, according to new consensus guidelines released by the U.S. Multi-Society Task ...

New rules for anticancer vaccines

10 hours ago

Scientists have found a way to find the proverbial needle in the cancer antigen haystack, according to a report published in The Journal of Experimental Medicine.

User comments