Yearly colorectal cancer screenings encouraged for those ages 45+
“After completing a colorectal cancer screening at age 35 due to a family history of colon cancer, I learned there was tissue in my colon that would likely develop into colorectal cancer. I had the cancerous tissue removed, and my physician told me, ‘if you had waited until age 50, we don’t know what would have happened.’ That’s the scary part—what if I had waited until I was 50? Would what we found no longer have been treatable? Would I have even made it to age 50?” – Erik Eichinger, HR Business Partner, Quest Diagnostics Health & Wellness.
While the death rate from colorectal cancer has been dropping over the past few years, there are still thousands of preventable deaths each year from the disease. Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths among American men and women, and over 50,000 American adults are expected to die from colorectal cancer in 2018 alone.1 Regular colorectal cancer screenings can help prevent these deaths by catching the disease in its early stages, when it is most treatable. If detected in stage I, the average 5-year survival rate is over 90%.2
In 2018 the American Cancer Society (ACS) released updated guidelines for colorectal cancer screenings. Now, the ACS recommends those at average risk for colorectal cancer begin regular screenings at age 45.3 Individuals at an increased risk for the disease (like those with a family history of colorectal cancer or certain inflammatory bowel diseases) may need to begin screening earlier, or screen more frequently, depending on direction from their primary care physician.
In addition to lowering the recommended age for colorectal cancer screenings, the ACS also updated the recommended colorectal cancer screening tests, and frequency with which those tests should be offered.4 Some of the ACS recommendations include:
- A highly sensitive fecal immunochemical test (FIT) each year for those 45 and older
- A CT colonography (virtual colonoscopy) every 5 years
- A colonoscopy every 10 years for individuals between the ages of 45 and 85
What does this mean for employee wellness programs?
The estimated national cost of care for colorectal cancer in 2017 was approximately $16.3 billion.5 By offering yearly FIT tests to those over age 45, employers can help their employees stay up to date on colorectal cancer screenings, which will help lead to an increase in the identification of early-stage colorectal cancer, a reduction in the cost of healthcare spending on treatment, and an increase in lives saved.
Incorporating a FIT test, like InSure® ONE™, as part of employer-sponsored wellness programs is a simple, cost-effective way to improve population health and help employees become more engaged in their healthcare. In addition to being inexpensive compared to invasive screenings (like a colonoscopy), FIT tests do not require any prep, pre-test dieting, or medication changes. Sampling is done in the comfort of home, making the process of completing the screening easy and convenient.
With the Quest Diagnostics InSure ONE offering on the updated participant platform, implementing colorectal cancer screenings for your population has never been easier. With timely participant communications automatically sent to promote screenings and to prompt participants to return screening kits, along with monthly participation reports and available third-party data feeds, InSure ONE can help you close the gaps in care in your population.
To learn more about adding colorectal cancer screenings to your suite of wellness offerings, contact us.
InSure®/InSure® ONE™ are trademarks of Enterix Inc. and Enterix Pty. Ltd.
Enterix Inc., A Clinical Genomics Inc. Company
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