The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) provides clinical practice guidelines for preventive health care outlining health maintenance recommendations for federal inmates.  Based on the recommendations of the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), the BOP defines a scope of preventive health care services for inmates that incorporates targeted patient screening for cancer.   Periodic visits to review the inmate’s need for and receipt of preventive health care services are recommended at least at the following intervals:

  • Every 3 years for sentenced inmates under age 50
  • Annually for inmates 50 years of age and older

The frequency of monitoring inmates should be patient-specific, and adjusted as clinically necessary to monitor significant changes.  Among the screening parameters that should be included in periodic preventive health care visits, as outlined in Preventive Health Care Scope of Services and Preventative Health Care Guidelines by Disease State, includes screening for colon cancers per established parameters and clinical indications.   Based on the patient’s risk category (increased versus high), the age to begin treatment and recommendations are determined by the following risk factors:

  • History of polyps at prior colonoscopy
  • History of colorectal cancer
  • Family history
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
Preventive Health Care Federal Bureau of Prisons Clinical Practice Guidelines April 2013.