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CDC, AGA Join Forces to Bring Colorectal Cancer Screening to the Uninsured

To bring this lifesaving test to patients who would otherwise not have access, gastroenterologists with the AGA are partnering with CDC’s Colorectal Cancer Control Programs (CRCCP) to screen patients in need during the last weekend in March.

“This event has been a wonderful opportunity for collaboration between CDC’s Colorectal Cancer Control Program and the AGA to promote colorectal cancer screening awareness in several regions of the country, and offer screening services to those who may not otherwise have access,” said Marcus Plescia, MD, director, CDC, Division of Cancer Prevention and Control.

More than 50 gastroenterologists are coordinating with CRCCP in the following states to conduct free colonoscopies throughout March: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Nevada. Health departments in these states work with local primary care providers to identify patients, conduct health assessments, and schedule the eligible patients for appointments for their colonoscopy procedures with AGA members and their support staff providing free services for the event.

“All Americans should have access to life-saving colorectal cancer screenings. If caught early, colorectal cancer is very treatable,” said C. Richard Boland, president of the AGA Institute. “The AGA applauds CDC’s CRCCP programs and the physicians who are donating their time to screen patients who wouldn’t otherwise be checked for colorectal cancer. We encourage all patients over age 50 to talk with their doctor about their colorectal cancer screening options.”

There are a number of tests to screen for colorectal cancer. These tests have varying bowel preparation requirements, time intervals and costs. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force guidelines call for regular screening of both men and women for colorectal cancer, starting at age 50 years and continuing until age 75 years, by any of the following three regimens: annual high-sensitivity fecal occult blood testing; sigmoidoscopy every five years combined with high-sensitivity fecal occult blood testing every three years; or screening colonoscopy at intervals of 10 years.

In addition to following recommended screening guidelines, people can reduce their risk of developing or dying from CRC through regular physical activity and maintaining a healthy body weight. For detailed information on CRC, please visit the CDC website and review the AGA Institute brochure CRC Prevention and Treatment and guide and video Preparing for a Colonoscopy. The AGA offers a GI Locator Service at www.gastro.org/patient-center.

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