The Importance of Regular Screenings for Adults over 45 and How to “Count on You” When It Comes to Preventative Health For Minorities Specifically

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1 in 23 men and 1 in 25 women develop colon cancer in their lifetime, making it the third leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S. It is vital that all adults get regular screenings for the disease. Colorectal cancer disproportionately affects the Black community due to differences in risk factors and healthcare access related to socioeconomic status. In fact, African Americans are disproportionately burdened by cancer in general. They often experience greater obstacles to cancer prevention, detection, treatment, and survival, including systemic racial disparities that are complex and go beyond the obvious connection to cancer. These obstacles can include lower-paying jobs and lack of (or less comprehensive) health insurance, lack of access to healthy and affordable foods, low-quality education and housing, and unsafe environments.

Unfortunately, the CDC estimates that only about 70% of U.S. adults aged 50 to 75 are up to date on their screening, and much of the population may not be aware of all the screening options available to them. Screenings are now recommended for everyone 45 and older – even if you don’t have symptoms or risk factors. Early detection increases survival, and screening makes it possible to catch early cancerous or precancerous changes in the colon while they are treatable.


  • Colorectal cancer rates for the Black community are the highest of any racial/ethnic group in the U.S, with African Americans about 20% more likely to get colorectal cancer and about 40% more likely to die from it than other groups.
  • Fewer than half of survey respondents in the recommended age have been screened for colon cancer, in line with the population. At-home test collection kits are the preferred screening option, but fewer than 1/3 of respondents know of their wide availability.
  • At-home screening test collection is now available that can be completed in the comfort of your own home. Patients can order the test kit online with no doctor’s visit required.
  • A negative screening test result provides a reliable indicator that no cancerous or precancerous changes are taking place in the colon. People with a negative screening test result should repeat the test in 1 year in consultation with their doctor.

It is important to note that the fecal immunochemical test (FIT) colon test is a screening tool and does not diagnose colorectal cancer. FIT screening is not appropriate for individuals who are already considered high risk for colon cancer. If you are high risk, talk to your healthcare professional about the need for a colonoscopy.

Dr. Brian Caveney, Chief Medical Officer and President of Labcorp, discusses how the “Count on You” campaign aims to empower patients and continue the fight for health equity, why early detection of colorectal cancer is vital, especially for Black Americans. He shares the latest data on who should be screened as well as what screening options are available including at-home test collection.

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Brian is a nationally recognized health policy expert, and in his current role as Chief Medical Officer, he oversees medical and scientific strategy. Before joining Labcorp in 2017, he was Chief Medical Officer at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina. In addition to various roles in the healthcare division of the core health plan, Brian also served as Chief Clinical Officer of Mosaic Health Solutions, a wholly owned subsidiary of Blue Cross NC for strategic investments in diversified health solutions businesses. Prior to that role, he was a practicing physician and assistant professor at Duke University Medical Center and also provided consulting services for several companies in the Research Triangle Park, North Carolina region. Brian holds an M.D. from the West Virginia University School of Medicine, a J.D. from the West Virginia University College of Law, and an M.P.H. in health policy and administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He completed his residency at Duke University Medical Center and is board-certified in preventive medicine, with a specialty in occupational and environmental medicine.

Produced for: Labcorp