March 02, 2021
3 min read

Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month: 10 recent reports on screening, risk

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In March, the gastroenterology community comes together to raise awareness about one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in the United States, colorectal cancer.

During Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, health care providers and others aim to educate the public about this preventable disease and promote early screening initiatives.

Healio Gastroenterology compiled some of our most recent reports on CRC.

VIDEO: Text message program offers support to patients diagnosed with CRC

In an exclusive video, Healio Gastroenterology spoke with Brian Dooreck, MD, of Gastrointestinal Diagnostic Centers in Pembroke Pines, Fla., about the colorectal cancer provider outreach program, or CRC POP.

“[Giving] patients the instruction, the direction, the reassurance is what this program is about,” he said. READ MORE

CRC risk assessment vs education does not promote uptake in screening

The Colorectal Cancer Risk Assessment Tool did not increase colorectal cancer screening participation or intent, according to a study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology.

“Risk stratification might motivate persons classified as higher CRC risk to complete screening, but unintentionally discourage screening among persons not identified as higher risk,” Timothy Yen, MD, from the department of medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine, and colleagues wrote. READ MORE

Dietary factors may have role in development of CRC

Factors related to diet, including fiber and alcohol intake, were associated with the development or prevention of colorectal cancer, according to study results.

“Several systematic reviews with meta-analysis of prospective observational studies have summarized evidence for the associations between dietary factors and the incidence of [colorectal cancer (CRC)],” Nathorn Chaiyakunapruk, Pharm D, PhD, from the department of pharmacotherapy at The University of Utah, and colleagues wrote. “However, to date, there has been little synthesis of the strength, precision and quality of this evidence in aggregate.” READ MORE

Mailed FIT increases CRC screening in underserved populations

Colorectal cancer screening rates among underserved populations increased among patients who received at-home fecal immunochemical tests, according to study results.

“Colorectal cancer screening rates remain limited in underserved populations, which includes those in the clinic we partnered with,” Shivan J. Mehta MD, chief innovation officer at Penn Medicine, said in a press release. “We saw that there is an opportunity to use text messaging and new insights from behavioral science to increase uptake.” READ MORE

Individuals who self-order colorectal cancer screening kit more likely to complete it

People who ordered a colorectal cancer screening kit through a patient portal were nearly four times more likely to complete it than those who received a kit automatically in the mail, a retrospective observational study showed.

“Colorectal cancer screening is the most important tool we currently have to prevent deaths from colorectal cancer,” Erin E. Hahn, PhD, MPH, a health services researcher with Kaiser Permanente Southern California, told Healio. “Improving screening rates even a little can have big impacts on patient lives and cancer outcomes.” READ MORE

Trial to evaluate combination of CAR-T and pembrolizumab for metastatic colorectal cancer

Although colorectal cancer mortality has declined steadily since the 1940s, the long-term prognosis for patients with late-stage metastatic disease has remained relatively poor.

The 5-year survival rate for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer stands at 14%, according to American Cancer Society data. READ MORE

Long-term, regular aspirin use linked to lower colorectal cancer mortality

Long-term, regular use of aspirin before diagnosis appeared associated with lower colorectal cancer-specific mortality, according to results of an observational study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Peter Campbell, MSc, PhD, scientific director in the department of population science at American Cancer Society, and colleagues pursued the research, in part, because one study published last year suggested increased colorectal cancer mortality with aspirin use. Additionally, they wanted to help health care providers and colorectal cancer survivors make educated decisions regarding lifestyle and behavior that could affect long-term prognosis. READ MORE

Family history, obesity among risk factors for early-onset CRC

Individuals with obesity and high alcohol consumption, as well as other factors, were at higher risk for developing early-onset colorectal cancer, according to study results.

Darren R. Brenner, PhD, from the University of Calgary, and colleagues wrote that about 10% of newly diagnosed cases of CRC are in patients aged younger than 50 years. However, the reasons for a rise in early-onset CRC (EoCRC) are unclear. READ MORE

Delayed colonoscopy linked with higher risk for CRC

Delayed colonoscopy after an abnormal stool-based screening test was associated with increased risk for colorectal cancer, according to study results.

Samir Gupta, MD, from the Veterans’ Affairs San Diego Healthcare System, one of the co-authors of the study, said in a press release that patients and even some primary care providers do not understand how important that follow-up colonoscopy can be. READ MORE

Q&A: CRC screening bill removes unexpected costs for polyp detection, removal

The organization Fight Colorectal Cancer is celebrating that the Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act has been recently signed into law.

According to a press release from Fight CRC, the organization has been advocating for the bill to be signed into law since 2012. The legislation was initially introduced when advocated from both Fight CRC and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network shared their stories. The ‘Medicare loophole’ bill was included in a legislation package that addressed COVID-19 relief, passed by Congress on Dec. 21, 2020, and later signed into law by former president Donald Trump on Dec. 27, 2020. READ MORE