Olympus and the Colorectal Cancer Alliance Offer a Reminder About the Importance of Preventive Cancer Screenings

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month and incidence rates of early onset colorectal cancer are on the rise

COLORECTAL CANCER is now the leading cause of cancer death for men under the age of 50 and the second leading cause for women under 50.

CENTER VALLEY, Pa., (March 5, 2024) – As the American Cancer Society reports an increase in death rates from colorectal cancer for patients under the age of 50,1 Olympus Corporation of the Americas and the Colorectal Cancer Alliance (CCA) offer a reminder about the importance of preventive screenings and knowing your family health history.

During Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month in March, Olympus and CCA are asking people to take an active role in their healthcare by learning about the recommended screening age and screening options, engaging their primary care providers (PCPs) in those discussions and being aware of family health history.

More than 20 years ago, colorectal cancer (CRC) was known to be the fourth-leading cause of cancer death in men and women under the age of 50, according to the American Cancer Society. Now, CRC is the leading cause of cancer death for men under the age of 50 and the second leading cause for women under 50. Since 2015, incidence rates of CRC in adults younger than 55 have increased by 1% to 2% annually.1

Marking the importance of knowing one’s family health history is the fact that nearly one in three people diagnosed with CRC before age 50 have a family history or genetic predisposition. A history of CRC in first-degree relatives such as a parent or sibling increases the risk of developing cancer.2

Colonoscopy Guidelines and the Importance of the PCP

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) in 2021 lowered its recommended screening age for those at average risk of CRC from 50 to 45.3 Gastroenterologists support the lowered screening age,4 and Olympus supports the USPSTF guidelines for CRC screening beginning at age 45, evidence-based recommendations with relevance in the presence of increased early-onset CRC incidence.

Screening modalities include colonoscopy, which allows physicians to remove polyps that could develop into cancer.5 There are other screening options, including a fecal immunochemical test (FIT), which checks for hidden blood in the stool from the lower intestines. Such a test must be done every year, and a colonoscopy will be necessary if the test returns abnormal results.6

The best screening option, however, is the one someone is willing and able to get done, and Olympus encourages people to have those discussions with their PCP. A recent study looked at the key role PCPs play in offering screenings particularly among underserved populations.

The study reviewed patients at safety-net hospital systems diagnosed with CRC between the ages of 50 and 75 and found that those with a primary care doctor had significantly reduced odds of late-stage CRC.7 Early detection is key as the 5-year relative survival rate is about 90% when caught at a localized stage and about 73% when detected at a regional stage.8

Silver Lining: Technology Improvements Support Higher Adenoma Detection Rates

The American Cancer Society reports that CRC deaths have been dropping in older adults for decades likely, in part, due to screenings such as colonoscopy that find polyps before they can develop into cancer or finding cancer earlier when it’s more treatable.9 Olympus technologies like Texture and Color Enhancement Imaging (TXI™) technology, which leads to improved visibility of potential lesions, are helping physicians to potentially reduce miss rates for early mucosal changes.10

A study evaluating the use of TXI technology on polyp detection during screening colonoscopies found that TXI technology significantly increased ADR and increased the number of adenomas found by physicians measuring 5mm or larger, as compared to those found during a procedure using high-definition white-light endoscopy. ADR was also higher with TXI technology (as compared to white light) in patients who were being screened as a result of a positive non-invasive test or due to a history of polyps or bowel cancer.11

TXI technology is not intended to replace histopathological sampling as a means of diagnosis but is an adjunctive tool for endoscopic examination that can be used to supplement Olympus white light imaging.

But technologies that help improve preventive screenings are most effective when a patient takes the time and care to prepare for their colonoscopy.

“Technologies like TXI are valuable tools in the fight to prevent colon cancer. One of the most effective tools in the fight, however, is the commitment to taking control of your health,” said Dr. John de Csepel, Chief Medical Officer, Olympus Corp. “Talk to your doctor about your health history and risks and the screening options that are best for you. Should you decide that a colonoscopy is the right choice, make sure to focus on your prep, so your gastroenterologist can get the best results possible. Colorectal cancer is preventable, and the power to prevent it rests in your hands.”

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About Olympus
At Olympus, we are committed to Our Purpose of making people’s lives healthier, safer and more fulfilling. As a global medical technology company, we partner with healthcare professionals to provide best-in-class solutions and services for early detection, diagnosis and minimally invasive treatment, aiming to improve patient outcomes by elevating the standard of care in targeted disease states.

For more than 100 years, Olympus has pursued a goal of contributing to society by producing products designed with the purpose of delivering optimal outcomes for its customers around the world.

Olympus Corporation of the Americas, a wholly owned subsidiary of Olympus Corporation, is headquartered in Center Valley, Pennsylvania, USA, and employs more than 4,500 employees throughout locations in North and South America. For more information, visit olympusamerica.com.

i Criner GJ, Delage A, Voelker K, et al. Improving Lung Function in Severe Heterogenous Emphysema with the Spiration Valve System (EMPROVE): A Multicenter, Open-Label, Randomized, Controlled Trial. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2019;200(11):1354-1362. doi: 10.1164/rccm.201902-0383OC.

1 “Cancer statistics, 2024,” CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.” Pub. Jan. 17, 2024

2 American Cancer Society, “Colorectal Cancer Risk Factors.” Rev. July 2023

3 U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, “Final Recommendation Statement, Colorectal Cancer: Screening.” May 18, 2021.

4 American Gastroenterological Assoc., “GI Societies support starting CRC screening in mid-to-late 40s.” May, 18 2021

5 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Basic Information About Colorectal Cancer.” Rev. February 2023

6 American Cancer Society, “Colorectal Cancer Screening Tests.” Rev. June 2020

7 Dimaano, K.; Croman, M.; Montero, S., et al, “Engaging primary care physicians is critical in the screening and diagnosis of colorectal cancer at safety-net hospital systems.” Surgery Open Science, pub. January 2024

8 American Cancer Society, “Survival Rates for Colorectal Cancer.” Rev. Jan. 17, 2024

9 American Cancer Society, “Key Statistics for Colorectal Cancer.” Rev. Jan. 17, 2024

10 Data on file with Olympus (DC00489968)

11 Young, E.; Rajagopalan, A.; Tee, D., et al, “Texture and Color Enhancement Imaging Improves Colonic Adenoma Detection: A Multicenter Randomized Controlled Trial.” Gastroenterology AGA Journal, pub. October 2023