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ASGE Press Releases

ASGE Heralds Announcement of Decrease in Colorectal Cancer Deaths: Screening is Key

Oak Brook, Ill., January 17, 2007 - Recently announced drops in cancer deaths-with the biggest decrease occurring in colorectal cancer-have been attributed to earlier detection and improved treatment. The American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE), representing the specialists in colorectal cancer screening, is excited by the American Cancer Society's recent report announcing the drop in colorectal cancer deaths. The American Cancer Society has reported that, for the second year in a row, cancer deaths from three major causes have decreased. However, among breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers, the colorectal figures showed the most dramatic decrease. According to the report, colorectal cancer deaths dropped by 1,110 in men and by 1,094 in women.

"This is great news and an important message for anyone putting off screening. Many colorectal cancer deaths can be prevented through proper detection. The important message is that screening saves lives and that any screening method is better than none. Of the screening modalities, colonoscopy is the most effective because it is both diagnostic and therapeutic. Not only does it allow us to see the entire colon, but it also allows us to remove polyps before they turn into cancer," said Dr. Mark Pochapin, ASGE spokesperson and the Director of The Jay Monahan Center for Gastrointestinal Health and Associate Professor of Medicine at Weill Medical College of Cornell University. "The message is simple: If you are over 50 or have a family history of colorectal cancer, talk to your doctor about getting screened-today."

A recent study by Yale researchers found that, as Medicare coverage for colorectal cancer screening expanded, so did colonoscopies and with that, early cancer detection rates. The key variable in survival statistics among cancers, including colorectal, is early detection. These findings support ASGE's position that colonoscopy is the most effective screening method.

To ensure the best possible patient outcomes, ASGE has taken a leadership role in developing quality measures for endoscopic procedures such as colonoscopy. Establishing quality indicators, such as appropriate withdrawal time and detection rates, is a major step toward providing patients the highest quality endoscopic care. ASGE's "Quality Indicators for Colonoscopy," a section in the "Quality Indicators for Gastrointestinal Endoscopic Procedures" supplement published in the April 2006 issue of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, can be found online at

ASGE screening guidelines recommend that, beginning at age 50, both men and women at average risk for developing colorectal cancer should have a colonoscopy every 10 years. People with higher risk factors, such as a family history of colon cancer, should begin earlier. Patients are advised to discuss their risk factors with their physician to determine when to begin routine colorectal cancer screening and how often they should be screened.

For more information about colorectal cancer screening or to find a qualified endoscopist, visit ASGE's colorectal cancer awareness Web site at To learn more about ASGE's "Quality Indicators for Gastrointestinal Endoscopic Procedures" guideline, which includes quality indicators for colonoscopy, visit


Media Contact:
Jennifer L. Michalek

(630) 570-5632

1520 Kensington Road, Suite 202
Oak Brook, IL 60523
Phone (630) 573-0600; Fax (630) 573-0691;;

About the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy
The American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE), founded in 1941, is the preeminent professional organization dedicated to advancing and promoting excellence in gastrointestinal endoscopy. Physicians and surgeons who are members of the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) have highly specialized training in endoscopic procedures of the digestive tract. ASGE, with more than 9,500 physician members worldwide, promotes the highest standards for endoscopic training and practice, fosters endoscopic research, recognizes distinguished contributions to endoscopy, and is the foremost resource for endoscopic education. Visit;; and for more information.