Most Americans should be screened for colorectal cancer by age 45, according to new recommendations from the US Preventive Services Task Force, which includes Li Li, MD, PhD, MPH of UVA Health. This recommendation applies to Americans with no symptoms who have no history of colorectal polyps or a personal or family health history of genetic disorders that increase the risk of colon cancer.
Colon cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death in America, according to the Task Force, and more and more cases are being diagnosed in younger Americans. The task force finds that colon cancer diagnoses among Americans ages 40 to 49 increased by nearly 15% from 2000-02 to 2014-16. Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman was only 43 years old when he died of colon cancer in August.
“As colorectal cancer diagnoses become more common in younger people, and the latest science shows that screening younger people is beneficial, the task force decided that regular checkups should begin at age 45,” Li said.
The updated recommendation also encourages all Americans ages 45 to 75 to undergo screening, with some people continuing screening until the age of 85 in 2018, 31.2% were out of date with screening. ”
“If it’s detected early, colon cancer is very treatable, which underscores the importance of starting screening at the appropriate age,” said Li.
The task force recommends two types of screening strategies: direct visualization tests – such as colonoscopies – and stool-based tests. Patients should discuss their screening options with their doctor.
For more information on the recommendations, see the Task Force website.
Via the task force
The US Task Force Preventive Services works to improve people’s health nationwide by providing evidence-based recommendations on clinical prevention services such as screenings, counseling, and preventive drugs. Further information is available at http: // www.