A New Reason to Be Screened for Colon Cancer

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That panel's recommendations drive what screening is covered by insurance under the Affordable Care Act, although 20 states have laws that link coverage to the cancer society guidelines.

The new guidelines lower the age from 50 to 45, following a rise in cases in younger people.

Dr. Cedrek McFadden is a physician with GHS. Doctors also recommend stool blood tests, which are done every year.

Groups known to suffer disproportionately high rates of colon cancer include African-Americans, Alaska Natives, and American Indians.

The rate of colorectal cancer among the 50-to-54 age group, even with a decline over the past several years, remains higher than among those who are 45 to 49; that partly reflects the start of screening at 50, which leads to detection of the disease and allows people in the older group to be identified as having colorectal cancer.

Colorectal cancer is the fourth-most-common cancer diagnosed among adults in the United States.

"I'm glad this is finally being put into place, I think this is in the end it's going to save lives and it's going to help us to get a better grasp on what is a very preventable and curable disease", says Dr. Matthiesen.

"You know the screening is not a fun process, everyone knows that", said Smith.

Some screenings include a colonoscopy and multi-targeted stool DNA test. "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". But there has been a 51 percent increase in colorectal cancer among those under 50 since 1994.

A screening for colon or rectal cancer isn't always a colonoscopy, though that is usually needed if another type of test indicates a problem.

The ACS didn't recommend one specific test, since a general recommendation for screening with different options is more likely to be followed.

In my opinion getting screened for colon cancer is essential for good health.

O'Neil said it is still not clear why more younger people are being diagnosed. That produced a result that showed the lifesaving potential of earlier screening, the group said.

"We're deeply concerned about this trend", says Dr. Richard Wender of the American Cancer Society. But based on the ways colon and rectal cancers have started to affect younger people, the ACS determined that such a change is still important to recommend.

These new recommendations are only for people who don't have an increased risk.

Based on their review and that simulation modeling, the researchers identified efficient strategies for screening starting at age 45.