Most older patients with colon cancer have not been screened

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Jan. 24, 2005

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Fewer than half of colorectal cancer patients received screening for the disease more than six months prior to the diagnosis, according to a paper published in the journal Cancer online in January and in the print edition in February.

Researchers at the University Hospitals of Cleveland analyzed data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results tumor registry. They found more than 5,000 patients older than 70 with a diagnosis of colorectal cancer.

Only 44% had been screened for the disease more than 6 months before diagnosis. Fecal occult blood testing was the most popular option with 35% being screened with this test. Only 6% had been screened with colonoscopy. Those who received screening were also diagnosed earlier in the course of the disease.

Authors of the paper suggested that colon cancer screening is underutilized.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that those older than 50 be screened for colon cancer but does not recommend a specific method.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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