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Mass screening for colorectal cancer.

Diseases of the Colon and Rectum

economics, Aged, Colorectal Neoplasms, diagnosis, epidemiology, Cost-Benefit Analysis, Humans, Mass Screening, Adult, methods, Middle Aged, Occult Blood, Patient Compliance, Pennsylvania, Reagent Kits, Diagnostic

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      A voluntary community colorectal cancer screening project to detect occult blood in the stool of asymptomatic individuals was undertaken; 49,353 Hemoccult II kits were distributed. A total of 23,674 completed kits were returned to a central repository and processed (compliance rate, 48 percent); 851 participants had positive results (3.6 percent). Of the 640 who underwent further medical evaluation, 299 participants (46.7 percent) who had adequate follow-up had no evidence of disease. Diverse disease entities were detected in 341 participants, which was 1.4 percent of those enrolled. Forty-one patients (0.17 percent) showed significant findings that included 29 cancers (0.12 percent) and 12 (0.05 percent) noninvasive malignant polyps. Of the cancers, there were 27 colorectal, one non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and one carcinoma of the vocal cord. In addition, 107 patients (0.45 percent) had benign polyps and 193 patients (0.82 percent) had various diseases of the gastrointestinal tract and other medical conditions. The cost of the program was modest and the results conformed to those found in previous screening surveys. The heightened public awareness of testing for colorectal disease and the detection of early lesions justifies the guaiac test screening program for mass survey.

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