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Clinical Need for Colorectal Cancer Detection

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second overall leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S., and ranks third for new cancer cases and cancer mortality for both men and women. The American Cancer Society estimates that CRC causes more than 56,000 deaths annually, divided equally between men and women. If this disease is not discovered before metastasis occurs, the five-year survival rate is less than 10%; however, if CRC can be detected and treated while it is localized and early stage, the five-year survival rates jumps to over 90%. It is estimated that fewer than 40% of the CRCs are discovered prior to metastasis.

The advantages of early detection clearly highlight the ongoing need to develop cost-effective, highly accurate, objective methods to find colorectal neoplasia in its earlier stages.

93% of CRC cases occur in persons 50 years of age or older. Indeed, the American Cancer Society recommends that adults at average risk should begin colorectal cancer screening at age 50. Recent studies have questioned whether there is sufficient endoscopic capacity to screen the estimated 41.8 million average risk individuals of age 50 that are eligible under current guidelines, but have not been screened. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that although endoscopists in the United States could double the number of procedures currently performed, at current capacity it would take 10 years to screen the unscreened population by colonoscopy alone

Newer techniques for colorectal screening, such as virtual colonoscopy (VC), are unlikely to eliminate the backlog, since a therapeutic colonoscopy is indicated as follow up to a positive VC screening.

 
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