Imaging groups want USPSTF to shine a light on CT for colon cancer screening

Imaging groups are expressing support for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force’s proposal to expand the recommended age range for colon cancer screenings. However, they’re also urging organization to shine a light on CT as reliable alternative to the more well-known colonoscopy.

It was back in October that USPSTF experts suggested starting these regular check-ins beginning at age 45, rather than 50. Advocacy groups such as the Medical Imaging and Technology Alliance applauded the move in recently submitted public comments while also asking for greater promotion of imaging’s role in colon cancer detection.

“MITA strongly supports the principle that ‘the best test is the one that gets done.’ We are concerned, however, that the public may not be fully aware of all of the screening options available, including CTC,” Executive Director Patrick Hope wrote in comments, posted on the alliance’s website Dec. 3. “For many, CRC screening is synonymous with colonoscopy, without knowledge of the availability and risks and benefits of other options.”

Hope further stressed that direct visualization screening exams, such as computed tomography colonography, allow for the detection of precancerous polyps. That’s something other options, such as fecal DNA tests, do not offer.  

The American College of Radiology similarly shared its support for the expanded age range in its own comment letter. ACR also urged USPSTF to up efforts to promote computed tomography, noting there has been “significant peer-reviewed evidence” support imaging efficacy in detecting the disease.

“The ACR feels strongly that current evidence on the risks and benefits of CTC continue to show that CTC is proven to be an effective tool for screening of asymptomatic patients for colorectal cancer and should be a recommended screening test in all adults age 45 years and older,” the college wrote in an update shared Dec. 2.

You can read the full ACR letter here, and MITA’s comments here.