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Article
January 27, 1989

Occult Blood Screening for Colorectal Cancer

Author Affiliations

From the Schools of Public Health (Drs Knight and Fielding) and Medicine (Dr Fielding), University of California at Los Angeles; Johnson & Johnson Health Management Inc, Santa Monica, Calif (Drs Knight and Fielding); and the Department of Medicine, the Division of Clinical Epidemiology, Montreal General Hospital (Dr Battista).

From the Schools of Public Health (Drs Knight and Fielding) and Medicine (Dr Fielding), University of California at Los Angeles; Johnson & Johnson Health Management Inc, Santa Monica, Calif (Drs Knight and Fielding); and the Department of Medicine, the Division of Clinical Epidemiology, Montreal General Hospital (Dr Battista).

JAMA. 1989;261(4):586-593. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03420040124032
Abstract

GENERAL BACKGROUND  Colorectal cancer has long been the target of efforts aimed at early detection. It is the second most common cancer in the United States, with 140 000 new cases and 60 000 deaths estimated to have occurred in 1987.1 It is uncommon in persons younger than 50 years but its incidence increases sharply thereafter.2 Investigations into the causes of colorectal cancer have not yielded a consensus strategy for prevention. However, early treatment generally is acknowledged to be more beneficial than late treatment. Early detection would thus seem to be a reasonable approach to lowering the toll of this cancer.The American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute recommend yearly occult blood testing for all persons older than 50 years of age.3,4 The Canadian Task Force on the Periodic Health Examination has recommended the use of fecal occult blood testing by asymptomatic persons older than

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