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Higher Screening Rates Can Improve Colorectal Cancer Outcomes

The No. 2 cancer killer in the United States, colorectal cancer, could get bumped down from its ranking if more people get screened. The rate of adults developing and dying from colorectal cancer has decreased, according to a new Vital Signs report released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The rate of new cases of colorectal cancer fell from 52.3 per 100,000 in 2003 to 45.4 per 100,000 in 2007, representing nearly 66,000 fewer cancers. The colorectal cancer death rate fell from 19.0 per 100,000 in 2003 to 16.7 per 100,000 in 2007, representing nearly 32,000 fewer deaths, the report says. The estimated direct medical cost of colorectal cancer was $14 billion in 2010; for each person who died of colorectal cancer in 2006, the lost productivity costs were $15.3 billion, or about $288,468 per person, the report says.

The research also found that colorectal cancer death rates decreased significantly in 49 states and Washington, DC, with the largest declines in states with some of the highest screening prevalence, between 2003 and 2007. Across the nation, death rates decreased by 3% per year between 2003 and 2007.

To see a transcript from the press briefing, visit www.cdc.gov/media.

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