U.S. government agencies and their colorectal cancer prevention partners have set a goal that at least 80% of adults ages 50-75 will be screened for colorectal cancer. A recently published study conducted by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that the U.S. healthcare system has the capacity to make this goal a reality.
To determine if the U.S. could expand its screening capacity, CDC researchers used mathematical modeling to estimate the number of colonoscopies or fecal immunochemical tests (FIT) that would be necessary every year to screen for colorectal cancer for 80 percent of adults in the recommended age group. They found that 5.1 million to 13 million colonoscopies would need to be conducted per year, depending on which screening test was first used.
The analysis also used survey data from facilities that perform colonoscopies to determine the number of colonoscopies that are performed in the U.S. every year – and to calculate how many more they could do. This survey showed that 15 million colonoscopies were performed in the U.S. in 2012, and that another 10.5 million colonoscopies could be performed every year.