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Keywords:

  • public health;
  • cancer screening;
  • colorectal neoplasms;
  • incidence;
  • mortality

BACKGROUND

The National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable, a national coalition of public, private, and voluntary organizations, has recently announced an initiative to increase colorectal cancer (CRC) screening rates in the United States to 80% by 2018. The authors evaluated the potential public health benefits of achieving this goal.

METHODS

The authors simulated the 1980 through 2030 United States population of individuals aged 50 to 100 years using microsimulation modeling. Test-specific historical screening rates were based on National Health Interview Survey data for 1987 through 2013. The effects of increasing screening rates from approximately 58% in 2013 to 80% in 2018 were compared to a scenario in which the screening rate remained approximately constant. The outcomes were cancer incidence and mortality rates and numbers of CRC cases and deaths during short-term follow-up (2013-2020) and extended follow-up (2013-2030).

RESULTS

Increasing CRC screening rates to 80% by 2018 would reduce CRC incidence rates by 17% and mortality rates by 19% during short-term follow-up and by 22% and 33%, respectively, during extended follow-up. These reductions would amount to a total of 277,000 averted new cancers and 203,000 averted CRC deaths from 2013 through 2030.

CONCLUSIONS

Achieving the goal of increasing the uptake of CRC screening in the United States to 80% by 2018 may have a considerable public health impact by averting approximately 280,000 new cancer cases and 200,000 cancer deaths within <20 years. Cancer 2015;121:2281–2285. © 2015 The Authors. Cancer published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of American Cancer Society. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.