Don't Wait Till 50 for Your Colon Cancer Screening

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In a press release announcing the update, the ACS said there is an expectation that screening will be regularly performed in adults age 45-49 as it has been recommended for those aged 50 and older.

"I was surprised by the results, honestly", he said. A 2014 study, of which he was the senior author, showed that by 2030, based on current trends, rates for colon and rectal cancers will increase by 90 percent and 124 percent, respectively, for patients 20 to 34 years old. As an advocacy organization, we have heard the urgency from our survivor community to lower the screening age. "After reviewing this data, experts on the ACS Guideline Development Committee concluded that a beginning screening age of 45 for adults of average risk will result in more lives saved from colorectal cancer". Rich Wender. "The best test is the test that gets done".

This year, more than 140,000 Americans are expected to be diagnosed with it, and about 50,000 will die from it.

The study then compared screening strategies starting at ages 40, 45 and 50 and stopping at ages 75, 80 and 85.

Many researchers believe that diet and exercise are linked to colon cancer, but Dr. Baber said nobody knows yet why it is showing up more frequently in younger patients.

And a recent study found adults born around 1990 are twice as likely to be diagnosed with colon cancer and four times as likely to be diagnosed with rectal cancer than adults born around 1950. The updated guideline retains the "strong recommendation" in support of regular screening for people ≥50. It is the first organization that has recommended that average risk colorectal cancer (CRC) screening in the United States should begin at age 45 rather than 50 for both men and women and for all races and ethnicities. The disease leads to over 50,000 deaths annually, making it the second leading cause of cancer fatalities among American adults.

A first colon cancer screening does not have to be a colonoscopy.

Groups known to suffer disproportionately high rates of colon cancer include African-Americans, Alaska Natives, and American Indians.

The American Cancer Society says it endorsed the full range of screening tests "without preference" in order to improve the rate of screening.

The American Cancer Society hopes it will help to catch colon or rectal cancer early.

Those at a higher risk may need to be screened before 45.

Andrea Cercek, an oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in NY, said the updated guidelines may "capture a population at risk".

Colon and rectal cancers have increased 51% among adults under age 50 since 1994, the cancer society said.

"Even if you're younger, if you're noticing that there's a change in your bowel habits or your stools and that something isn't right, then see your doctor", he said. "So it's preventative, not just early diagnosis", she said, adding that she thinks the risks of screening younger outweigh the benefits. But he noted that younger people are also at increased risk.

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