Doctor: Colorectal cancer screening can save your life

The American Cancer Society has released new guidelines about screening for colon cancer

The group said improved screening techniques is a possible reason more cases of colorectal cancer are being found in the 45-50 age group.

The recommendation is for anyone at average risk and it is in response to an increase in colorectal cancer rates in younger and middle-aged adults.

Dr. Cedrek McFadden is a physician with GHS.

The American Cancer Society (ACS) has updated its colorectal cancer screening guidelines, lowering the recommended age to start screening from 50 to 45.

"If we find it in later stages, survival is less than 20%", McFadden explained. Cohen and Hochman point to recent data that shows "you are about 8 times more likely to end up in the hospital within a week of your screening colonoscopy than you are to be saved from colon cancer death over 10 years". For patients aged 76-85, the ACS says doctors and patients should decide on a case-by-case basis whether it makes sense to continue screening, based on life expectancy and preference. "Whichever way we can get a patient to get tested for this cancer is the right one to do", said Dr. Anthony.

There are six tests the ACS suggests as options for screening. That change has been attributed to healthy lifestyle changes and more widespread screening.

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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.

Time will tell whether other leading health organizations follow in the American Cancer Society's footsteps with recommending screening for adults younger than 50.

Experts say it is unclear why colon cancer rates are on the rise in younger people.

She applauded the move toward earlier screening, saying it "will benefit the general public". With early detection, these cancers have high cure rates.

According to Weigel, there are several options for getting screened, including a Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT). "However, if one day getting screened saves my life, I'll do it - once a year, every year if I have to". People with a family history should begin screening sooner. The reason the rates are rising "is the million-dollar question", he said, noting that factors may include increasing rates of obesity, a lack of exercise and the consumption of processed foods.

The researchers' new modeling study was an extension of analyses conducted for the US Preventive Services Task Force recommendations, and it assessed the potential risk and benefit of various colorectal screening strategies among black and white men and women in the United States. He believes, eventually, the recommended age will be even younger.

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