The American College of Radiology (ACR) and its Colon Cancer Committee met last week at the Society of Abdominal Radiology conference in its continued efforts to advocate for CT colonography screening coverage and highlight colorectal cancer during the March Colon Cancer Awareness Month.
During the Society of Abdominal Radiology Annual Meeting, Colon Cancer Committee members addressed the lack of Medicare screening coverage and need to educate the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on the value of CTC in advancing the goal of increasing colorectal cancer screening rates and reducing the mortality rate in colorectal cancer patients. There remains a gap in coverage, based on a 2009 CMS National Non-Coverage Decision for CTC screening in the Medicare age population, a population that needs screening the most.
The ACR and the Colon Cancer Committee are leading a campaign to persuade CMS to reconsider its Medicare policy and ruling to finally authorize Medicare CTC coverage. Colorectal cancer is the second most common cancer in the U.S. and the third leading cause of cancer death, despite a 90 percent cure rate with early detection. Over 140,000 Americans are diagnosed with CRC, and nearly 50,000 die from the disease annually. Fewer than half of the U.S. population, 50 years of age and older, comply with recommended screenings based on U.S Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF)-recommended screening options.
Providing patients with another effective screening option for colorectal cancer will help advance early detection and save thousands of lives through earlier treatment. This has been recognized by the USPSTF in its grade “A” rating for colorectal cancer screening for individuals aged 50-75 years and recommendation of CTC screening for this population.
The Colon Cancer Committee is working on numerous projects with the CTC screening campaign including comments to CMS, model policy work, medical policy reviews, patient education, updates to the ACR CTC resource page, development of a CTC tool kit, a CTC round table session at the May 2017 ACR Annual meeting, CTC Coalition efforts, CTC registry work, a standardized reporting and management tool (C-RADS), and programs addressing the increased CRC risk in young adults and the need for screening of family members.
Additional coordinated committee activities with the ACR public affairs team support include:
- 2,000+ print and online articles (U.S. News & World Report, Yahoo News, Miami Herald, etc.)Total includes educational article (advertorial) in additional 1,200 print/online news outlets nationwide. [Total includes: integrated ACR social media campaign (including USPSTF “A” grade and CRC Awareness Month), resulting in nearly 317,000 Facebook impressions and 170,000 Twitter impressions; ACR developed hashtag #virtualCT made nearly 3.8 million impressions; CTC-related posts on the Voice of Radiology blog resulted in nearly 1,000 views and more than 63,000 Facebook and Twitter impressions.]
- 436 million earned media impressions
- Radio public service announcements (began Dec. 2016) -— 2,000 airings on 33 stations (Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit, Seattle, Baltimore)
- English and Spanish Radio media tour (14 stations/networks) nationwide directed listeners to the English and Spanish RadiologyInfo.org CTC sections, the ACR English and Spanish CTC brochures
- Updated CTC brochure (English and Spanish) and online video explaining CTC risks vs. benefits, how to prepare for the exam, etc.