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January 2014

Screening for Colorectal Cancer in Individuals at Average Risk: Current Methods and Emerging Issues

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Medicine, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland
JAMA Intern Med. 2014;174(1):10-11. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.11499

Although debate is ongoing about the value of many screening tests for different cancers, the value of screening in asymptomatic individuals at an average risk for colorectal cancer has proved effective.1,2 From 1990 to 2005, deaths due to colorectal cancer decreased by 30% in the United States, owing in part to such screening. In addition to the early detection of tumors, screening can prevent the development of cancer by identifying adenomas that can be removed.3 No perfect screening program for colorectal cancer exists; physicians and patients should consider the strengths and limitations of the 4 screening methods discussed below and emerging issues for all screening programs.

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