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Most US adults overdue for colorectal cancer screening report not receiving screening recommendation from doctor

Numbers higher in marginalized populations.

In a new study led by researchers at ACS, most adults (73.2 %) in the United States overdue for colorectal cancer screening (CRC) reported that they did not receive a screening recommendation from their clinician despite having attended a wellness visit in the past year. The report also showed the prevalence of receiving a recommendation was lowest among marginalized racial/ethnic and socioeconomic groups. The findings were published today in the Annals of Internal Medicine, and the news was shared on X /Twitter..

“Recent studies show more than a third of U.S. adults are overdue for colorectal screening, even though screening can prevent the disease and detect it at early stages when the prognosis is most favorable,” said Dr. Jordan Baeker Bispo, principal scientist, cancer disparity research at ACS and lead author of the study. “These findings are alarming as they highlight a major communication gap about CRC prevention in the clinical setting.”

“We’re missing one of the best opportunities, while visiting the doctor, to remind adults to get screened for this potentially deadly disease,” Bispo added. “Investing in clinician training, automated point-of-care prompts, educational tools for shared decision making with diverse patient populations, and community outreach may improve patient–clinician communication about CRC screening and advance progress toward national screening goals.”

“This study underscores the need to adequately fund programs like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Colorectal Cancer Control Program (CRCCP), which serves those at high risk for colorectal cancer and works to increase awareness of and access to screening to reduce the disease burden in the U.S.,” said Lisa Lacasse, ACS CAN president. “We urge Congress to increase funding for this program to reduce barriers to colorectal cancer screening, significantly improve screening rates and save more lives.”

Dr. Farhad Islami is senior author of the paper. Other ACS authors participating in this study included Dr. Priti Bandi and Dr. Ahmedin Jemal.

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