Colon screening should start at 45, not 50, American Cancer Sociey says

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But since 1994, there has been a 51 percent increase in colorectal cancer among those under age 50. But the share of cases involving younger adults has risen to 29% for rectal cancer and 17% for colon cancer, a recent study showed.

The ACS recommends annual screening with a fecal immunochemical test or a high-sensitivity guaiac-based fecal occult blood test or every 3 years with a multitarget stool DNA test. Tests showed Fiske had colorectal cancer that had spread to his liver.

"The American Cancer Society should be praised for taking a critical step toward helping more Americans get screened for colorectal cancer and potentially detecting the disease earlier", said Exact Sciences CEO Kevin Conroy.

If this new guideline is adopted, lives will be saved. It has now lowered that to age 45.

In a written statement Wednesday, the American Cancer Society's Cancer Action Network, the nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, said that consumers should understand what their individual insurance policy will cover should they begin screening at age 45, rather than age 50.

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The G-BA therefore commissioned the German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG) to update a report from the year 2013 in an accelerated process known as "rapid report" on the following question: Can people under 55 years of age with a family history of colorectal cancer benefit from a screening test? It also categorized tests for the 45-50 age group as a "qualified recommendation" and tests for those over 50 as a "strong recommendation".

The American Cancer Society now suggests starting at 45 instead of 50. The guidelines don't prioritize among screening choices.

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

Six test options range from non-invasive to colonoscopies.

While the overall costs and benefits of earlier screening remain unclear, the message that screening is important and can come in many forms is crucial, said David Weinberg, chairman of medicine at Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia. One goal is to research the reasons for the rising incidence, said Dr. Andrea Cercek, an oncologist at Sloan Kettering.

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To her, there is a key message for people of all ages: "If you do develop persistent gastrointestinal symptoms - lasting longer than a few days - don't dismiss them", Cercek said.

A change in the shape of your stool. With that, we've noted that the incidence is going up in younger people, even younger than 45.

"But the point is to have it checked out", she said. "It's very curable when we catch it early", Cercek said.

Colorectal cancer is the fourth-most commonly diagnosed cancer among adults and the second-leading cause of cancer death, in the United States.

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

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