Colorectal cancer screenings should start at age 45, new guidelines say

Colorectal cancer screenings should start at age 45, new guidelines say

Dr. Baber said he was not surprised it would issue the new guidelines. 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. It used existing data to estimate the effects of screening at age 45.

Outside of the cost and the frequency in which a test is recommended to be done, "all these tests are approximately equal in their value and can be offered", Wender said.

The recommendtions suggest that clinicians individualize colorectal cancer screening decisions for individuals ages 76 through 85, based on patient preferences, life expectancy, health status, and prior screening history.

The updated guidelines come on the heels of what seems to be a rise in colorectal cancer among younger adults.

"Someone born in 1990 has twice the chance of developing colorectal cancer than someone born in 1950", Wolf said. The recommendation for regular screening in adults aged 50 years and older is designated as a 'strong recommendation, ' on the basis of the greater strength of the evidence, as well as the overall benefit. Colon cancer, combined with rectal cancer, is the second leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. Rates of colon cancer have jumped in people under age 50, especially in the 40-49 age group.

Meanwhile, cases and deaths have fallen in older adults, at least partly due to screening, which can lead to the detection and removal of polyps before they become cancerous.

"It's clear that screening is working; the incidence and mortality from colorectal cancer have gone down in people over 50", Labow told MedPage Today. Those at a higher risk, including African Americans and Alaska natives, should get screened even earlier. Patients who test positive for signs of cancer on a non-colonoscopy screening method should follow up with a colonoscopy quickly, the group said.

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

Some of the increase could stem from the increase in obesity in the USA, a known risk factor for colorectal cancer, he says.

If this new guideline is adopted, lives will be saved.

She said rates are not only increasing among people in their 40s, but also among those in their 20s and 30s (though the incidence at those ages remains low).

"Moving the start of screening back to age 45 for the average risk population is a considerable change", says Andrea (Andi) Dwyer, director of the Colorado Colorectal Screening Program at the University of Colorado Cancer Center and program director at the Colorado School of Public Health. "So it's preventative, not just early diagnosis", she said, adding that she thinks the risks of screening younger outweigh the benefits.

In a young person, Cercek noted, gastrointestinal symptoms likely stem from an infection or other non-cancerous condition.

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