In a new study, Stanford researchers examined the cost-effectiveness of screening new colon-cancer patients for Lynch syndrome, a genetic condition that greatly increases a patient's risk of developing colon cancer and that is responsible for 3 to 5 percent of all colorectal tumors. Their findings, which will appear in the July 19 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine, show that screening would indeed be cost-effective.
According to study lead author Uri Ladabaum, MD, screening saves lives and "its costs are comparable to other things we choose to spend our health-care dollars on." And, as described in a release:
"This is a situation where, if you find out genetic information, you can improve your outcome," said [Ladabaum]. Lynch syndrome patients can take defensive steps (such as yearly colonoscopies) that can either prevent cancer or alert them to get cancer treatment early, when it has the best chance of working.