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Quantitative Immunochemical Fecal Occult Blood Tests: Is It Time to Go Back to the Future?

Thomas F. Imperiale, MD
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From Indiana University Medical Center and the Regenstrief Institute, Indianapolis, Indiana.

Potential Financial Conflicts of Interest: Consultancies: EXACT Sciences, Onconome, Inc.

Corresponding Author: Thomas F. Imperiale, MD, Regenstrief Institute, 1050 Wishard Boulevard, Indianapolis, IN 46202

Ann Intern Med. 2007;146(4):309-311. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-146-4-200702200-00013
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Colorectal cancer (CRC) screening rates remain low, despite the fact that it has been nearly 6 years since Medicare and others began reimbursing for screening colonoscopy. Although the proportion of persons age 50 years and older who have had sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy has increased from 33% in 1999 to 52% in 2004 (1), CRC screening rates still lag behind those of breast and cervical cancer. We need more convenient and less invasive screening tests. Could a fecal occult blood test (FOBT) fit the bill?

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