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January 1989

Results of a Television-Advertised Public Screening Program for Colorectal Cancer

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Medicine (Drs McGarrity and Converse and Ms Peiffer), Information Systems (Ms Long), and Pathology (Dr Kreig), University Hospital, The Milton S Hershey Medical Center, The Pennsylvania State University, Hershey.

Arch Intern Med. 1989;149(1):140-144. doi:10.1001/archinte.1989.00390010128017

• We report the results of a free, television-advertised mass screening program for colorectal cancer using stool guaiac kits. A total of 57000 test kits were picked up and 29619 (53%) were returned; 3.9% (1165) of the tests were positive. Ninety-three percent of persons with a positive screen sought medical evaluation after screening. Detailed follow-up was available on 744 persons. Fifty-eight persons had large-bowel carcinomas diagnosed, 80% of which were localized. One hundred sixty persons had adenomatous polyps removed. Forty percent of cancers and 58% of polyps were detected in persons with only one or two positive test slides out of a total of six. In 33% of persons with a positive screen, the diagnostic workup consisted of a repeated stool guaiac test and/or sigmoidoscopy only. A major drawback to improving the results of mass screening programs for colorectal cancer is the limited gastrointestinal workup conducted by physicians in many persons with a positive fecal occult blood test.

(Arch Intern Med 1989;149:140-144)

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