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Invited Commentary |

“BeneFITs” to Increase Colorectal Cancer Screening in Priority Populations

Beverly B. Green, MD, MPH1,2; Gloria D. Coronado, PhD3
[+] Author Affiliations
1Group Health Cooperative, Seattle, Washington
2Group Health Research Institute, Seattle, Washington
3Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research Northwest, Portland, Oregon
JAMA Intern Med. 2014;174(8):1242-1243. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.730.
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Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a leading cause of cancer death in the United States. Many CRC deaths could be averted by screening because screening decreases both CRC incidence and mortality by 30% to 60%.1 Although CRC screening rates have risen in recent years, with 65% of Americans aged 50 to 75 years reporting being up-to-date,2 rates remain suboptimal and are marked by pronounced racial/ethnic and socioeconomic disparities. Only 53% of Latinos2 and 39% of individuals with incomes below the federal poverty level are current for CRC screening (Figure). Low socioeconomic status is also associated with higher rates of CRC mortality.3 Increasing screening in priority populations could substantially decrease morbidity and mortality from CRC.

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Percentage of Adults Aged 50 to 75 Years Who Received Colorectal Cancer Screening by Family Income Level—National Health Interview Survey, United States, 2010

In 2010, the percentage of adults aged 50 to 75 years who received colorectal cancer screening as recommended by the most recent guidelines increased as income increased. Persons with family incomes 600% or more of the federal poverty level (FPL) were nearly twice as likely (72.9%) to get a colorectal cancer screening as those with family incomes below the FPL (38.7%) and were the only group to meet the Healthy People 2020 target of 70.5%. Error bars represent 95% CIs. Figure available at http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6146a10.htm. Permissions are not required to reproduce Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report figures.

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