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Updated Colon Cancer Screening Guidelines

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The American Cancer Society recently updated its colorectal cancer screening guideline recommending that colorectal cancer screening begin at age 45 for patients at average risk. This was due to the fact that colon cancer in young people seems to be rising.

A recent study from the American Cancer Society found that adults born around 1990 have twice the risk of colon cancer and four times the risk of rectal cancer compared with adults born around 1950.  

The chief cancer control officer for the ACS stated in an interview that colorectal cancer incidents have declined steadily during the past two decades in patients 55 and older because of effective colorectal cancer screening that results in removal of polyps. The new recommendation is based on the hope that earlier screenings will prevent more colorectal cancer cases and death.

It is important to note that according to the guideline, the initial test does not have to be a colonoscopy. It could be one of three stool based tests, which look for hidden blood or DNA in stool that could indicate potential for colorectal cancer.  

It should also be noted that the US Preventive Services Task Force, which is the other major panel in the United States that develops recommendations for clinical preventive services, has stood by its recommendation in 2016 to begin screening at age 50, primarily because this would result in an increase of the number of lifetime colonoscopies and the associated potential harms. 

At Elevated Health, we offer stool based testing and work with a number of gastroenterologists that perform colonoscopies. If you have insurance, a colonoscopy may be covered as a preventive screening test. If it is not covered, or if you do not have insurance, we have negotiated competitive cash rates for our members.  

Please contact us with any questions or to schedule an appointment to discuss further!