Published: Sun, June 03, 2018
Medicine | By Tracy Klein

American Cancer Society advises colorectal screens at 45, not 50

American Cancer Society advises colorectal screens at 45, not 50

But when the data pointed to a "persistent increase" among younger people across demographic groups, the society chose to recommend younger screening ages for all adults, said Richard Wender, chief cancer control officer for the group.

Dr. Cedrek McFadden is a physician with GHS.

According to the Minnesota Council of Health Plans, if your doctor recommends you need one of several types of invasive and non-invasive colorectal cancer screenings, it can be covered by insurance.

Rates of colon and rectal cancers are rising quickly among young people - from 1991 to 2014, rectal cancer rates for people between the ages of 20 and 49 doubled.

New guidelines released Wednesday recommend most US adults start colon cancer screening earlier, at age 45 instead of 50. "If someone has early stage cancer, the chance of cure with surgery is very high", said O'Neil.

The new guideline does not prioritize among screening test options. That change has been attributed to healthy lifestyle changes and more widespread screening.

"We know that obesity's associated with an increased incidence of many cancers, including colorectal cancer, and the obesity epidemic remains an important and growing problem in the US".

The ACS did recommend that any positive results on noncolonoscopy screening tests, which generally test for the presence of blood in the stool, should be followed up with a colonoscopy, in which doctors visually inspect the colon with a camera.

The ACS paper said colonoscopies, visual tests and a high-sensitivity stool-based test are effective means of detecting colorectal cancer.

"I wasn't supposed to get colon cancer no one in my family has colon cancer", Kyrkostas said.

The guidelines regarding screening for the older group are a "strong recommendation", because of "the greater strength of the evidence and the judgment of the overall benefit", the cancer society said in its news release.

O'Neil said catching colon cancer early increases the chances of controlling it.

The organization, which announced the change in its guidelines Wednesday, said extensive analysis showed that lowering the starting age for screening would save lives. This led to the decision to reevaluate the age to initiate screening in all adults, the ACS said.

The US Preventative Services Task Force - an independent expert panel that issues recommendations about preventative medical services like screenings -has previously found that there are strengths and weaknesses to different tests.

As younger patients get screened, there will be more data on how doing so affects rates of colon and rectal cancers.

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