Colon cancer screening rates in New York City rose 40 percent over four years, possibly due to the efforts of a coalition created to promote and improve access to the procedure, a new study suggests.
Screening rates increased from 42 percent in 2003 to 62 percent in 2007, the researchers said. Nationally, screening rates didn’t get that high until 2012, they noted.
The coalition was formed in 2003 by the city’s health department with a wide variety of partners, including doctors, hospitals, insurers and survivor groups.
“The increased screening rates from 2003 to 2012 translates to an additional 833,000 New Yorkers who have undergone screening colonoscopy and represents an important public health intervention,” study co-author Dr. Steven Itzkowitz, professor of medicine/oncological sciences at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, said in a Mount Sinai news release.
The research was published online Nov. 23 in the journal Cancer.
“We know that routine colorectal screenings save lives, and we continue to educate the public of the importance of this,” study co-author Lina Jandorf, professor of oncological sciences at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, said in the news release.
There is a national campaign to achieve a colon cancer screening rate of 80 percent by 2018. Rates are increasing, but there are still large differences between states and within states.
The New York City coalition might offer a model for other communities to increase their colon cancer screening rates, the study authors suggested.
Although the study found an increased rate of screening in New York City around the time the coalition began its work, the study wasn’t designed to prove a cause-and-effect relationship.
The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about colorectal cancer screening.