Colon and rectal cancer screenings should start at 45, new guidelines say

If you were born in the 80s or later, you're at significantly higher risk of colon and rectal cancer — and experts say you should get screened younger

If you were born in the 80s or later, you're at significantly higher risk of colon and rectal cancer — and experts say you should get screened younger

That panel's recommendations drive what screening is covered by insurance under the Affordable Care Act, although 20 states have laws that link coverage to the cancer society guidelines.

Weinstein noted that Cologuard is now approved for colon cancer screening for people between the ages of 50 and 84, adding that the company would need to run a separate trial for lower age groups.

Dr. Cedrek McFadden is a physician with GHS.

Colon Cancer tests should begin at age 45 instead of 50. After reviewing the data, experts concluded that a beginning screening age of 45 for adults of average risk will result in more lives saved from colorectal cancer.

According to the World Health Organizations, colorectal cancer, which includes both colon and rectal cancers, is the second leading cause of death in the USA for cancers that affect both men and women.

Yet "there are many ways you can screen for colon cancer beyond colonoscopy, and we can find a way no matter how squeamish people are", Azad said. For patients older than 86, the ACS discourages screening.

Patients who test positive for signs of cancer on a non-colonoscopy screening method should follow up with a colonoscopy quickly, the group said. More than 50,000 will die this year. It's a polyp. And nearly all colorectal cancers develop from polyps.

There are other screening options but colonoscopy remains the best screening options for the cancer.


As the ACS researchers explained in the paper announcing the new screening guidelines, the rise in cases of colon and rectal cancers can not simply be explained by the fact that more cases are being found because screening is more common.

Rising rates of colon cancer and deaths in younger people led to the updated guidelines that were released on Wednesday.

O'Neil said it is still not clear why more younger people are being diagnosed. With early detection, these cancers have high cure rates.

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

Another option is a multitarget stool DNA test, which is done every three years and involves collecting a sample at home and sending it in.

If you are 45 or older, you should have a colonoscopy every 10 years.

One cautionary note on the ACS site - insurers may not cover the cost of the screening starting at age 45 as the United States Preventive Services Task Force recommendation is for those 50 and over who are at average risk. People with a family history should begin screening sooner.

As younger patients get screened, there will be more data on how doing so affects rates of colon and rectal cancers. As they age, younger adults will continue to have an elevated risk, compared with previous generations, studies suggest.

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