The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the rate of death from colorectal cancer has fallen substantially in recent years. It also noted that the decline could be even greater if more older adults were screened for colon polyps with colonoscopy.
National death rates from colorectal cancer dropped by 3% annually between 2003 and 2007. The national rate fell from 19.0 per 100,000 population to 16.7 per 100,000 during that period. The screening rate for people 50 to 75 years old was 65% in 2010, an increase from the rate of 52% in 2002.
The CDC says that one-third of the target population still is being missed.
The No. 1 reason why? Doctors fail to recommend screening to their patients.
Sometimes the failure to recommend colonoscopy is just a one-time oversight. Other times, it can amount to medical malpractice, especially when the patient is in a high-risk group such as someone who has had blood in their stool with no clear reason for it. On the Patrick Malone law firm website, we have an extensive discussion of colon cancer and medical malpractice, plus an important patient safety tip on why full colonoscopy is superior to sigmoidoscopy in screening for cancer.