Major Colorectal Cancer Screening Study Enters Last Phase of Recruitment
Apr 20, 2005 - 7:45:38 PM

Having recently enrolled the 4,000th study participant, researchers want to emphasize that there is still an opportunity for an additional 400 people to participate in this trial before recruitment stops at the end of May.

Mayo Clinic continues to successfully enroll men and women in a large colorectal screening clinical trial. Mayo is the lead medical center and is one of 34 sites in the United States that is participating in this research project.

Launched in October 2001 and sponsored by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), this research study seeks to enroll healthy men and women between the ages of 65 and 80 who have not been screened for colorectal cancer within the past 10 years. This trial is attempting to compare a non invasive DNA-based stool test against colonoscopy, which is the accepted standard for colorectal cancer screening.

Colorectal cancer is one of the most common cancers in the United States, affecting one in every 17 persons. Death rates from colorectal cancer are second only to lung cancer deaths in the United States. It occurs with equal frequency in men and women and is most often found among people who are over age 50.
The toll in terms of suffering, lost productivity, and cost is enormous but colorectal cancer is preventable with screening.

Multiple medical societies, including the American Cancer Society, recommend regular screening after age 50, but less than one-third of Americans have ever been screened. Barriers to screening have included lack of awareness, inconsistent insurance coverage by third parties, and patient fear or non acceptance of the screening intervention.

"In our study, funded by the National Cancer Institute, we are evaluating a promising new DNA-based stool test that requires no bowel preparation or diet restriction," said David Ahlquist, M.D., a Mayo gastroenterologist and the national study chair. "This study will provide important data on the performance of this new test and will allow us to determine its value as a potential screening method."

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