Facing the facts: Most Americans don’t get screened annually for colon cancer

This morning Exact Sciences highlighted a new study published in the American Journal of Managed Care that showed only three in one thousand people were adherent with annual screening with either the fecal immunochemical test (FIT) or fecal occult blood test (FOBT) during a 10-year period.

This study points to the fallacy of annual fecal blood testing as an effective means of colon cancer screening. As the chart at the top of this post suggests, nearly all patients that adhere to colorectal cancer screening with a traditional method do so with colonoscopy. 

While the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force assumed 100 percent fecal blood test adherence in its effectiveness modeling, the opposite is actually true: virtually no patients are adherent. These data question the assumptions on the clinical use of fecal blood tests. 

A colon cancer screening option like Cologuard, which is supported by a patient-focused compliance service, can increase screening effectiveness by helping to ensure high levels of adherence. Thanks to a dedicated customer care team trained to engage patients and ensure compliance, Exact Sciences has maintained a compliance rate of more than 70 percent. 

Cologuard is indicated to screen adults of either sex, 50 years or older, who are at average risk for colorectal cancer. Cologuard is not for everyone and is not a replacement for diagnostic colonoscopy or surveillance colonoscopy in high-risk individuals. False positives and false negatives do occur. Any positive test result should be followed by a diagnostic colonoscopy. Following a negative result, patients should continue participating in a screening program at an interval and with a method appropriate for the individual patient. Cologuard performance when used for repeat testing has not been evaluated or established. For more information about Cologuard, visit www.CologuardTest.com. Rx Only.

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