Many people believe that age 50 is the ideal mark for undergoing the first colonoscopy, but a respected U.S. expert panel now believes that sooner is preferable. The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) is lowering the suggested age for colon cancer screening from 50 to 45, based on data that young people today are being diagnosed with the disease and might benefit from screening.
Experts Recommend To Take Colonoscopy Earlier- Around The Age Of 45 Years
According to the task committee, the advice is for all individuals who do not have symptoms, a personal history of colon polyps, or a family history of genetic illnesses that raise the risk.
According to Dr. Wong, who is the chief scientific officer of the USPSTF, colorectal cancer screening saves lives, and adults between the ages of 45 and 75 should be checked to reduce their chance of dying from this deadly illness. Colorectal cancer research in adults under the age of 50 is advancing. Because of this research, we are now able to suggest adults aged 45 to 49.
Even though the USPSTF is an independent, voluntary body of health specialists from many professions, its findings are taken seriously. For example, the Affordable Care Act incorporated USPSTF recommendations into its insurance coverage criteria.
Wong stated that the task group lacks sufficient information to establish the benefits of lowering the screening age any further, but he advocated for more research.
The American Cancer Society previously recommended screening for this younger age range, having expanded its guidelines in 2018 to include people aged 45 to 49.
According to Robert Smith, who is the senior vice president of cancer screening for the American Cancer Society, altering USPSTF guidelines will result in less uncertainty about which suggestion to follow as well as insurance coverage for testing at a younger age.
They want specialists and the general public to notice the importance of beginning screening at the age of 45, rather than waiting until the age of 50 or later, as many individuals do, according to Smith. It’s not like everyone starts screening at the age of 50. They generally postpone it till they are in their mid-50s.
According to several statistics, one-quarter to one-third of persons in the previously recommended age range of 50 to 75 are not receiving their screenings on time, despite the fact that colon cancer is the third largest cause of cancer mortality in the U.S. Wong believes that colorectal cancer screening is a key preventative step for all persons aged 45 to 75 in order to assist them to live longer and healthier lives.
Keeping in mind that individuals with colors have increased odds of colon cancer and are more likely to suffer from it, the task force urged specialists to reach out to their Black patients and ensure they are frequently checked.
People really should consult their doctors if they notice a change in their bowel movements, blood in their stools, or discoloration of their stool since these can be signs of bleeding, according to Smith.
Wong said that many tests can be done to check for colon cancer. Some of the tasks can be conducted at home. Some procedures can be carried out in a medical office. Patients can consult with their doctor to determine which tests are appropriate for them.
Both direct visualization tests, such as colonoscopy, and stool-based testing were suggested by the task group. According to the task force statement, the proper test is the one that gets screening done. A stool test or direct visualization test is also recommended by the cancer organization. Other types of visualization testing include sigmoidoscopy and CT colonography.
According to the task group, about 53,000 Americans will die this year from colon cancer. The USPSTF‘s guidelines for older persons aged 76 to 85 remained unchanged.