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Study urges colorectal screening

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BETHESDA, Md., Dec 01, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- A study released Wednesday says more than 41 million Americans remain unscreened for colorectal cancer, despite the importance of such procedures.

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cancer killer, says the study published in the American Gastroenterological Association journal Gastroenterology.

The study, the first such to quantify the unscreened population, says sufficient capacity exists to screen the 41 million individuals within one year using fecal occult blood testing followed by diagnostic colonoscopy for positive tests.

Guidelines of multiple agencies and professional societies underscore the importance of colorectal cancer screening for all individuals 50 years of age and older, says the study.

"Given the enormous number of people who are eligible for screening, but have not been screened, it is clear that regardless of the test, colorectal cancer screening is underutilized," says AGA spokesman Bernard Levin.

"Men and women who are otherwise fit should be screened for colorectal polyps and cancer because colorectal cancer can be prevented by polypectomy and cured when detected early."

The study was conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which used data from the U.S. Bureau of the Census and the CDC's National Health Interview Survey.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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