Colonoscopies increase in New York City

A new study suggests that the number of New York City residents 50 and older who have had colonoscopies has risen sharply--by about 50 percent--over the last five years. The survey, which was conducted by the city's Bureau of Chronic Disease Prevention and Control of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, was based on a survey conducted by the city from 2003 through 2007. It showed that 1.25 million people were screened in 2007, a significant increase from the 826,000 in 2003, with the biggest rates of increases among minority communities.

Much of the increase seems to have been generated by a group of stakeholders including doctors, hospital administrators, union workers, insurers and city health officials called the New York Citywide Colon Cancer Control Coalition. The group's efforts focused simply on getting colonoscopies performed every 10 years for anyone 50 or older without a family history or higher risk for colon cancer, and more often for those who do have risk factors. The group helped foster this goal in several ways, including the use of so-called "patient navigators" who call people over 50 and encourage them to make an appointment.

To learn more about the program:
- read this New York Times article (reg. req.)