New Colon Cancer Screening Guidelines:
When Should I Start Colon Cancer Screening?
We all want to prevent colon cancer, but many patients are not sure when to start having screening colonoscopies. There are several variables, but this post will address colon cancer screening for patients with average risk.
In May 2018, the American Cancer Society (ACS) updated its guidelines for screening people at average risk for colorectal cancer (CRC) to start screening at age 45 (compared with the previous starting age of 50). The ACS recommends to continue routine screening in average risk adults through age 75 for those who are in good health and with a life expectancy of more than 10 years; individualizing screening decisions for ages 76 to 85; and discouraging screening over age 85.
Although colorectal cancer rates have been decreasing in older adults, major data analysis led by ACS researchers revealed an increased rate of colorectal cancer among younger adults. Consequently, experts on the ACS Guideline Development Committee concluded that more lives could be saved from colorectal cancer by lowering the screening age to 45 for adults of average risk.
For screening, who is at average risk?
Patients are considered to be at average risk if they do not have:
- A personal history of colorectal cancer or certain types of polyps
- A family history of colorectal cancer
- A personal history of inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease)
- A personal history of getting radiation to the abdomen (belly) or pelvic area to treat a prior cancer
- A confirmed or suspected hereditary colorectal cancer syndrome, such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or Lynch syndrome (hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer or HNPCC)
Why Should I Have A Screening Colonoscopy?
Colorectal cancer is a highly preventable and treatable disease if detected early! Screening colonoscopy is the only screening test that can detect and prevent precancerous polyps and colon cancer during the same exam.
If you have questions, make an appointment today! Dr. Levy will help you find relief from your symptoms while avoiding future complications.
The guideline was published May 30, 2018 in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, which is an American Cancer Society journal.