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Dr. Barry Berger Shares Good News, Bad News on Colon Cancer Screening

Dr. Berger serves as Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President of Medical Affairs for Exact Sciences.

When it comes to colon cancer screening news, there’s oftentimes good news and bad news.

The good news is that over the last few years, colorectal cancer screening participation rates have increased. The number of people screened is now 54% of the population, surpassing the U.S. government’s modest 50% screen goal set by the “Healthy People 2010,” a national health promotion and disease prevention initiative.

The bad news is that screening rates for breast cancer, cervical cancer, and prostate cancer, although higher than the screen rate for colorectal cancer, have declined over the last ten years, according to a new NIH-funded study in Frontiers in Cancer Epidemiology and as reported by lead author Tainya Clarke, M.P.H., and her team.

Unlike breast and prostate cancer, colorectal cancer has a lengthy and easily treatable premalignant (“pre-cancerous”) stage, which can be identified during screening. As a physician dedicated to colorectal cancer prevention, I believe a significant number of these cancers could be prevented through increased participation in screening activities.

Striving for an achievable goal of an 80-90% colorectal cancer screening rate could significantly decrease the burden of suffering from colorectal cancer amongst individuals, their families, and our community at large.

Image Source: Colon Cancer Alliance

 

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