White Paper Outlines How to Reduce Colorectal Cancer Mortality

A new white paper outlines how fewer people would die of colorectal cancer if health care providers adopted a new model of screening. The paper was laid out by the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) and published in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

To author this paper, the AGA enlisted 60 experts in gastroenterology and research to outline their vision for optimal colorectal cancer screening how screening could reach its full potential. The researchers concluded that attenuating the occurrences of colorectal cancer cases and deaths requires a universal approach that offers alternates to colonoscopy and reaches more people.

According the AGA, the new approach would:

  • Offer noninvasive testing upfront, such as stool testing, and integrate these options with colonoscopy.
  • Share decision-making with the patient and consider personal risk factors: colonoscopy for those at high risk, or initial noninvasive testing for those at lower risk.
  • Assign colonoscopy when it would provide the greatest benefit, rather than as the default screening method. This would improve access to patients who most need a colonoscopy.
  • Systematically initiate screening, follow-up testing and surveillance, rather than rely only on a physician’s recommendation.
  • Ensure appropriate screening is readily available to at-risk individuals, with no social, racial or economic disparities.

To meet their initiate goals, the AGA will target industry partners and scientists who are developing colorectal cancer screening tests and biomarkers.

“Approximately 67% of eligible Americans are screened for colorectal cancer. We need to improve our strategies to curb the cancer that ranks second for deaths in the U.S.,” said Sri Komanduri, MD, AGAF, chair of the AGA Center for GI Innovation and Technology in a press release. “AGA is proud to introduce this white paper — the first step in our mission to develop a more structured screening program that can increase screening rates, catch more colorectal cancers early, and save countless lives.”