Colorectal cancer: national and international perspective on the burden of disease and public health impact.
Colorectal cancer is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in the United States and throughout the world. The importance of this disease to gastroenterologists cannot be understated, given that screening and surveillance colonoscopy are dominant segments of clinical practice. The United States is the only country in the world where incidence and mortality rates from colorectal cancer are reported to be decreasing significantly, but health disparities in cancer screening, treatment, and survival persist. Health disparities are also evident worldwide, where the impact of this disease is staggering. In fact, rates of cancer are increasing in many parts of the world. Eliminating barriers to cancer screening and treatment could lead to substantial gains in quality and quantity of life and decrease the burden of colorectal cancer on public health. Programmatic and opportunistic screening programs have already had a measurable impact on disease burden, although the optimal screening strategy remains a matter of debate. Screening programs vary throughout the world, and further refinement will require a tailored approach because of differences in politics and fiscal reality among individual countries. Despite the strong impact of colorectal cancer on public health, there is cause for optimism and room for hope.
Gellad, ZF; Provenzale, D
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