New guidelines for colorectal cancer screening have been released. The first joint consensus recommendations of its kind have been accepted by several medical organizations, including the American Cancer Society, the American College of Radiology, and the U.S. Multi-Society Task Force on Colorectal Cancer, which includes members from the American College of Gastroenterology, American Gastroenterological Association, and American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy.
The new guidelines are based on the most recent scientific evidence and expert opinion. Particularly important is the introduction of two new tests for early detection of precancerous and cancerous lesions in the colon. Stool DNA (sDNA) and CT colonography (CTC), also referred to as virtual colonoscopy. The new recommendations also stress the importance of screening for precancerous polyps.
Tests for detection of adenomatous polyps and cancer
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy every 5 years, or
- Colonoscopy every 10 years, or
- Double contrast barium enema (DCBE) every 5 years, or
- CT colonography (CTC) every 5 years
Tests primarily for detection of cancer
- Annual guaiac-based fecal occult blood test (gFOBT) with high test sensitivity for cancer, or
- Annual fecal immunochemical test (FIT) with high test sensitivity for cancer, or
- Stool DNA test (sDNA), with high sensitivity for cancer, interval uncertain
“Despite clear evidence that colorectal cancer screening saves lives and the existence of several effective tests, screening rates have lagged, costing thousands of lives every year,” said Otis W. Brawley, M.D., national chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society. “Our hope is that these new recommendations will help relieve some of the challenges health care providers have had in promoting screening to their patients and lead to more Americans preventing colon cancer by having polyps removed before they turn into cancer.”
Healthcare professionals believe that the technology used in the new tests will enable more people to get screened for colorectal cancer.
Complete guidelines are available online on CA First Look and will be published in the May/June issue of CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, and in upcoming issues of the journals Gastroenterology and Radiology.
Source: American Cancer Society
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