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Colorectal cancer screening should start at age 45, not 50, American Cancer Society says

The American Cancer Society, in response to the rise of colon cancer in middle aged Americans, has changed the suggested age for colon cancer screening from age 50 to age 45.

New screening age recommendations for those at average risk

  • People at average risk of colorectal cancer should start regular screening at age 45.
  • People who are in good health and with a life expectancy of more than 10 years should continue regular colorectal cancer screening through the age of 75.
  • People ages 76 through 85 should make a decision with their medical provider about whether to be screened, based on their own personal preferences, life expectancy, overall health, and prior screening history.
  • People over 85 should no longer get colorectal cancer screening.

Those at higher than average risk

Should start colorectal cancer screening BEFORE age 45:

  • A strong family history of colorectal cancer or certain types of polyps
  • A personal history of colorectal cancer or certain types of polyps
  • A personal history of inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease)
  • A known family history of a hereditary colorectal cancer syndrome such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or Lynch syndrome (also known as hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer or HNPCC)
  • A personal history of radiation to the abdomen (belly) or pelvic area to treat a prior cancer

Screening options:

  • Stool-based tests:
    • Highly sensitive fecal immunochemical test (FIT) every year
    • Highly sensitive guaiac-based fecal occult blood test (gFOBT) every year
    • Multi-targeted stool DNA test (MT-sDNA) every 3 years
  • Visual exams:
    • Colonoscopy every 10 years
    • CT colonography (virtual colonoscopy) every 5 years
    • Flexible sigmoidoscopy (FSIG) every 5 years

 If you are of higher risk for colorectal cancer and around age 45, please contact your Digestive CARE physician and schedule an appointment. Colon Cancer is PREVENTABLE if detected early.

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