Amy Knudsen, PhD, senior scientist at the MGH ITA and Assistant Professor of Radiology at Harvard Medical School, received a Celebration of Science Recognition Award from the MGH Executive Committee on Research (ECOR) for her work that informed colorectal cancer screening recommendations in the U.S. The award comes with a $1,000 honorarium and an opportunity to present the findings at an ECOR meeting.
Dr. Knudsen and colleagues performed a decision analysis for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force to help inform its 2021 recommendations for colorectal cancer screening.1 Using validated simulation models of the natural history of colorectal cancer, they estimated the lifetime benefits, burden, and harms of colorectal cancer screening strategies that vary by the ages to begin and end screening, the screening test performed, and how often the test is repeated.
They found that, compared with no screening, all screening strategies are likely to yield substantial reductions in the lifetime risk of being diagnosed with or dying from colorectal cancer. They estimated that lowering the age to begin screening from 50 to 45 years would lead to better health outcomes with only a small increase in the burden and harms of screening. Together with new data showing increasing rates of the disease in people younger than 50, their findings informed the Task Force’s recommendation for all adults at average risk of colorectal cancer to start screening at age 45. As a result of this recommendation, commercial health plans and health insurers are required to provide coverage for this important preventive service with no patient cost-sharing, starting at age 45.
1 Knudsen AB, Rutter CM, Peterse EF, Lietz AP, Seguin CL, Meester RG, Perdue LA, Lin JS, Siegel RL, Doria-Rose VP, Feuer EJ. Colorectal cancer screening: an updated modeling study for the US Preventive Services Task Force. JAMA. 2021 May 18;325(19):1998-2011.