The American Cancer Society has released new guidelines for colorectal cancer screenings, urging Americans to begin screening 5 years earlier than previously recommended.
The American Cancer Society 2018 guideline for colorectal cancer screening recommends that average-risk adults aged 45 years and older undergo regular screening with either a high-sensitivity stool-based test or a structural (visual) exam, based on personal preferences and test availability. As a part of the screening process, all positive results on non-colonoscopy screening tests should be followed up with timely colonoscopy.
ACS cites a steep increase in deaths from colon and rectal cancers among men and women under the age of 50, the previously recommended age to begin screening as the reason for the change in policy. According to the Society, colon and rectal deaths have increased 51% among adults under the age of 50 since 1994.
The group also said that the first screening doesn’t have to be a colonoscopy, which is many times viewed as a time consuming and unpleasant procedure, but could instead be one of several other tests, even a stool sample that could be taken at home and mailed in.
AGS is drafting a letter of support for the new guidelines.