American College of Gastroenterology, American Gastroenterological Association and American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy experts went to Washington, D.C., March 12 to speak about colorectal cancer screening and barriers.
ASGE President Steven Edmundowicz, MD, ASGE Governing Board member Jason Dominitz, MD, AGA President David Lieberman, MD, and ACG Board of Trustees member Renee Williams, MD, were joined by Rep. James McGovern, D-Mass, during the briefing.
Four insights from the briefing:
1. Dr. Edmundowicz: "Screening for CRC has the potential to save more than 50,000 lives each year in the U.S. Consumers and decision-makers have a lot of information coming at them about screening options. I speak for all of the experts and healthcare providers represented by our organizations when I say that there has never been a greater need for good understanding of, and access to, screening."
2. Dr. Dominitz: "If we commit to increasing access to screening, we can save lives. Every year, 135,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with this cancer. And 51,000 are expected to die from it this year alone. That's an entire stadium full of people. But the five-year survival rate is excellent if caught early — nearly 90 percent. The way to do that is through quality screening, which can not only detect early cancer, but also can prevent CRC."
3. Dr. Lieberman: “We know that screening saves lives and we need to promote policies that increase screenings for patients. One thing Congress can do is pass the Removing Barriers to Screening Act that would fix the coinsurance problem that Medicare patients face when their screening colonoscopy becomes therapeutic. This policy change will remove the financial barriers that Medicare patients face when accessing screening and will help save lives."
4. Dr. Williams: "Colonoscopy is unique in its ability to not only detect but to prevent CRC. This power of prevention is why it’s so vital that we close the colonoscopy loophole, thereby expanding access to colonoscopy, preventing more cancers, and, inevitably, saving more lives."