Published: Sat, June 02, 2018
Medicine | By Earnest Bishop

Cancer group changes guidelines, says you should get colonoscopy at 45

Cancer group changes guidelines, says you should get colonoscopy at 45

But since 1994, there has been a 51 percent increase in colorectal cancer among those under age 50.

"I have seen first-hand the dangers of early onset colon cancer".

Those strategies were undergoing colonoscopy every 10 years; a computed tomography colonography or "virtual colonoscopy" every five years; a flexible sigmoidoscopy every five years; a multitarget stool DNA test every three years; a take-home fecal immunochemical test annually; or a take-home high-sensitivity guaiac fecal occult blood test annually.

"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.

Dr. Richard Wender, chief cancer control officer for the American Cancer Society, said the guideline update was initially focused on whether screening should begin earlier in racial subgroups with higher colorectal cancer incidence, which some organizations already recommend.

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

"Think of it this way", Dwyer says, "if screening started at age 20, you'd have maximum benefit but also a huge burden".

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, a non-partisan advocacy affiliate of ACS, said it intends to officially recommend reconsideration of a guideline from U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF).

An increase in the number of people diagnosed with colorectal cancer led the American Cancer Society to make a change in guidelines. 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.

The group is in the process of updating its screening guidelines, a spokesperson said.

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The American Cancer Society urged people to talk with their doctors about which kind of screening to pursue, based on risk factors like family history, diet, alcohol consumption and exercise patterns.

Six test options range from non-invasive to colonoscopies.

"For the past, maybe as much as ten years, we're seeing younger and younger patients with advanced colon cancer", O'Neil said. One goal is to research the reasons for the rising incidence, said Dr. Andrea Cercek, an oncologist at Sloan Kettering.

Breedlove said she's heartened by the change but believes the guideline should go even lower.

Some red flags include a persistent change in bowel habits; abdominal pain or cramping; stool that is dark or has visible blood; and unintended weight loss. But he noted that younger people are also at increased risk.

"But the point is to have it checked out", she said.

The vast majority of colorectal cancers are still found in older people, with almost 90 percent of all cases diagnosed in people over 50. "It's very curable when we catch it early", Cercek said.

The updated recommendations were published May 30 in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, the American Cancer Society's peer-reviewed journal.

Colorectal cancer is the third-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in men and women in the United States and is expected to cause about 50,630 deaths during 2018, according to ACS.

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