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Mass Screening for Colorectal Cancer

G. Baird Helfrich, MD; Peter Petrucci, MD; Hamilton Webb, MD
JAMA. 1977;238(14):1502-1503. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03280150072028.
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To the Editor. —  As directors of the Colorectal Task Force of the American Cancer Society, District of Columbia Division, Inc, we were interested to read Goodman's negative report on mass screening for colorectal cancer (237:2380, 1977). The American Cancer Society, District of Columbia Division, Inc, is sponsoring a mass screening project in Washington, DC, using Hemoccult slides as described in numerous articles. The adjacent Maryland suburban units and Northern Virginia unit of the American Cancer Society are also conducting colorectal screening projects concurrently.We believe that a response to Goodman's negative report is indicated by the preliminary results of these studies.The Hemoccult test is being used after a study of alternative methods of detecting fecal occult blood because the test is simple, inexpensive, has no radiation or chemical risk to the patient, generates a low false-positive rate, and can be returned by mail.We have elected to do initial


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