Reaching ’80 Percent By 2018′ Could Prevent More Than 20,000 Yearly Colorectal Cancer Deaths

Reaching ’80 Percent By 2018′ Could Prevent More Than 20,000 Yearly Colorectal Cancer Deaths

shutterstock_209001355A recent study led by researcher Ahmedin Jemal and the American Cancer Society concluded that if an 80 percent rate of colorectal cancer screening is reached by the year of 2018, more than 20,000 colorectal cancer deaths per year could be prevented. The results were published in the journal CANCER.

This is the first assessment to estimate the public health benefits that could result from increasing screening rates to “80% by 2018” outlined in a recent initiative from the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable (NCCRT), which wants to reach screening rates of 80 percent in the United States by 2018. NCCRT is a national coalition of both public and private organizations that includes voluntary associations as well.

Colorectal cancer is the 3rd leading cause of death (cancer related) in both men and women in the US, and the second leading cause of death for both genders combined. About 132,700 new cases and 49,700 deaths are expected in the United States by 2015. Data relative to the last decade shows that both mortality and incidence of colon cancer are decreasing by 3 percent each year, a direct consequence of increased screening. However, fewer than 6 in every 10 American adults (58 percent) with ages between 50 and 75 were recommended for testing in 2013.

Studies suggest that absence of screening is the reason for a substantial amount of colorectal cancer caused deaths, which led to the “80% by 2018” movement.

Using a computer model, the effects of increasing screening rates from about 58 percent in 2013 to 80 percent in 2018 were compared to a scenario in which screening rates remained approximately constant. The authors observed that increasing screening rates would reduce disease incidence by 17 percent and mortality rates by 19 percent during the period of 2013 through 2020. A total of 277,000 new cancers and 203,000 colorectal cancer deaths would be avoided in the period of 2013 to 2030.

“The barriers to increasing colorectal cancer screening in the United States are significant and numerous. But this study shows that investing in efforts to clear these hurdles will result in a major cancer prevention success,” concluded Dr. Richard Wender from the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable.

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Isaura Santos graduated with a BS in Cell and Molecular Biology from Universidade Nova de Lisboa and a MA in Communication, Culture and Information Technologies from University Institute of Lisbon (ISCTE-IUL). Her professional interests include science communication, public awareness of science and communication of science through entertainment.

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