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Government declines to cover colorectal screening method favored by Blacks and Hispanics

Despite the practical benefits of computed tomography colonography (CTC) for colorectal cancer screening and its endorsement by multiple organizations, the federal government’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has declined to cover this procedure by Medicare and Medicaid.

A recent analysis of health interviews with nearly 14,000 Americans found that Blacks and Hispanics were nearly three times as likely as Whites to undergo this type of non-invasive colorectal cancer screening.

CTC is a viable screening option for patients deemed to be at high risk for anesthesia or sedation, patients who are on anticoagulation therapy, or frail and elderly patients with multiple comorbidities, said Judy Yee, MD, University Chair in the Department of Radiology at Montefiore Medical Center and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.

“If Black and Hispanic patients are more likely to prefer or find CT colonography acceptable as a method of colorectal cancer screening, we can use CT colonography to help reduce racial disparities in colorectal cancer outcomes,” noted Anand Narayan, MD, vice chair of equity in the Department of Radiology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.