March marks National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, making it the perfect time to celebrate colorectal cancer screening’s public health success story. Thanks to colonoscopy screening – which can prevent colorectal cancer by removing precancerous polyps – fewer people than ever before are developing or dying from colorectal cancer.
The procedure is also saving the U.S. healthcare system billions of dollars. The cost of treating advanced colorectal cancer is considerable: more than $250,000 per patient. In a study completed for the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable, experts found that the colonoscopy screening model translates into Medicare savings of $15 billion annually.
While impressive progress has been made in the area of colorectal cancer screening, much still remains to be done. Of the more than 50,000 people who died of colorectal cancer in 2013, screening could have saved more than half of them.