"When we began this guideline update, we were initially focused on whether screening should begin earlier in racial subgroups with higher colorectal cancer incidence.", said Richard C. Wender, MD, ACS cancer control officer.
The recommendation appears online in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.
And, since most people do not start colorectal cancer screening until age 50, changes in screening rates would not account for the increase among younger Americans, he added.
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.
For colorectal cancer, the American Cancer Society didn't push one screening option over another but listed various options: High-sensitivity stool tests, created to detect blood in feces, which need to be administered every year; a DNA stool test, sold under the brand name Cologuard, every three years; a colonoscopy, every 10 years; or a virtual colonoscopy or flexible sigmoidoscopy, every five years. Historically, African-Americans, Native Americans and Native Alaskans have had higher rates of these types of cancer.
The new recommended age is for people at an average risk.
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Recent studies have shown a rise in incidence rates for those under 50 years old, ACS's update is an important step forward. "While the causes of this increase are not understood, it has been observed in all adult age groups below the age when screening has historically been offered and is contributing significantly to the burden of suffering imposed by premature CRC mortality". Chang stated that younger adults are at risk of getting this disease.
A recent study shows that adults born around the year of 1990 have twice the risk of colon cancer and four times the risk of rectal cancer than those born around 1950.
Lari Johnston suspects she may not be alive today if she'd had her first colon cancer screening at age 50.
Cancer survivor Carmen Breedlove was diagnosed at age 40. "It took us two years of work to provide a compelling argument and evidence that the screening age for everyone should begin at age 45, not age 50".
Based on their review and that simulation modeling, the researchers identified efficient strategies for screening starting at age 45. "When a doctor recommends a screening because of such risk factors, it is usually covered", said the association, which represents companies providing health care coverage and other related services to Americans. This is based in part on data showing rates of colorectal cancer are increasing in young and middle-aged populations.
"It's hard enough to get people to do it at all", Plescia noted.
She joined Fight Colorectal Cancer in 2014 to develop a health education program that provides relevant and timely information to survivors, caregivers and families looking for reliable resources to guide them through a colorectal cancer diagnosis.