Speak Up, Speak Out on Preventive Services Task Force Recommendations

We recently shared the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) draft recommendations on screening for colon cancer where they did not recommend CT Colonography or FIT-DNA, available as Cologuard, the newest FDA-approved at-home screening test, as primary screening methods. However, there’s something you can do to change that: visit the USPSTF website to read their draft recommendations and leave a comment before November 2, 2015 to let your voice be heard!

We believe the approach in the newly released draft recommendations seems to reinforce known barriers to screening by failing to endorse proven screening methods for individuals unable or unwilling to have a colonoscopy. The USPSTF doesn’t recommend the FIT-DNA test in this draft recommendation because of the potential “harm” from people having a colonoscopy as a result of a false positive and instead endorses the traditional stool-based test (FIT), which has never been approved by the FDA and misses many cancers as it only looks for the presence of blood in the stool. The health risk from having a colonoscopy is extremely small, but the risk from colon cancer diagnosis could be fatal. The USPSTF appears to believe that the risk of having a colonoscopy is greater than missing the presence of colon cancer by a test that is already FDA approved.

CT Colonography, sometimes called a virtual colonoscopy, also represents an important screening option for individuals where a traditional colonoscopy is not an appropriate choice. President Obama was even screened using CT Colonography to avoid unnecessary sedation. CT Colonography is recommended for the leader of the free world, but not recommended for other Americans by USPSTF.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), colon cancer screening rates haven’t increased in two years. We seek to improve the screening rate and believe these two proven screening methods should be moved to a recommended stature by the USPSTF to serve those who are unable or unwilling to have a colonoscopy. We most strongly urge the USPSTF to re-evaluate their recommendations and we want you to join us! Remember to leave a comment on the USPSTF website by November 2. Together, we can help ensure Americans have access to all proven screening methods.

Speak Up, Speak Out is an advocacy series where we bring you the information you need to know every third Tuesday of the month. Don’t forget, the Colon Cancer Alliance serves as a source of information about colon health. If you have additional questions about colon cancer screening or are in need of support, please contact our free Helpline at (877) 422-2030.

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