Judy Yee, MD, FACR, Chair of the American College of Radiology® (ACR®) Colon Cancer Committee, contributed this piece.

The White House has issued an official presidential proclamation for the year 2024, recognizing the significance of March as National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. In the United States, colorectal cancer is now the leading cancer killer in men under 50 and the second leading cause of cancer death in women under 50 years old. African Americans are about 20% more likely to get colorectal cancer and about 40% more likely to die from it than most other groups, according to the American Cancer Society. Even more alarming, an estimated 106,590 new cases of colon cancer (54,210 in men and 52,380 in women) will be diagnosed. As radiologists, we have both the opportunity and responsibility to positively impact colorectal cancer (CRC) diagnoses and save more lives through screening. The ACR created many useful resources to help provide your patients with access to locations offering CTC screening, patient-friendly videos, articles and more.
Radiologists can play a key role in increasing access to lifesaving screenings such as CT Colonography (CTC) with support from a variety of our resources:

•  CTC Locator Tool: CTC is widely available across the United States. Ensure patients can find your screening facility by listing it in this national searchable database.

•  Patient-Friendly Video: The ACR Commission on Patient- and Family-Centered Care created an informative video to help patients participate in shared decision-making with their physicians about screening.

•  RadiologyInfo.org: Patient-facing literature helps provide information for patients to learn more about CTC screening.

•  Additional Resources: Radiologists can access C-RADS®, Appropriateness Criteria, Practice Parameters and Technical Standards, and other clinical quality resources.

•  Public Service Announcements (PSAs): PSAs from the ACR help encourage patients to get screened for CRC.

The American College of Physicians' recent exclusion of CTC as a primary tool for colon cancer screening and recommendation that screening starts at age 50 rather than at age 45 will have negative effects on the intended goal of increasing screening for this largely preventable cancer. This is causing unnecessary confusion for clinicians and patients, as major organizations, including the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and the American Cancer Society support CTC as an accurate and safe test for colon cancer screening, and they have changed their guidelines to start screening at age 45. We need to stop the confusion. The best screening test is the one that actually gets done.

I encourage you to participate in awareness activities for colorectal cancer screening this month and make sure your facility is registered with the ACR My CTC Locator to help YOUR patients get screened. Not only is it fast and easy to do, but it could save a life.

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