Colorectal cancer cases spike; patients urged to get screenings

Nashville, Tenn.-based AmSurg has urged patients to undergo timely and appropriate screenings for colorectal cancer after it noted an increase in diagnoses last year.

In 2021, there was a significant rise in advanced stage colorectal cancer and precancerous growths, called polyps, in adults of all ages compared with 2020, according to AmSurg data.

The company attributed the increase to patients delaying care during the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 200,000 Americans are reported to have missed colonoscopy appointments since the pandemic began.

"If the precancerous or cancerous polyps are removed in time, there is a greater chance of surviving," Regina DeHart, AmSurg vice president, said in a Feb. 24 news release. "Any delay in routine screenings — even by a year — can make a difference in saving someone's life. People can thrive after a [colorectal cancer] diagnosis, but timing matters."

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. but is one of the most preventable cancers, according to AmSurg. A colonoscopy is the most thorough screening test for colorectal cancer.

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