The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force on Tuesday revised its guidelines for colon cancer screening, lowering the recommended age from 50 to 45 years old.
The task force’s new recommendations published Tuesday states that all adults, beginning at age 45 years old, to 75 years old, should be screened for colorectal cancer.
The new guidelines are for asymptomatic people at average risk, with no prior diagnosis of colorectal cancer, history of colon or rectal polyps or personal or family history of genetic disorders that put them at a higher risk.
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Previous recommendations from the task force in 2016 recommended screening to begin at age 50.
The group also recommended selective screening for adults 76 to 85 years old based on a person’s overall health, previous screening history and preferences.
The task force concluded “with moderate certainty that screening for colorectal cancer in adults aged 45 to 49 years has moderate net benefit,” while screening in adults 50 to 75 years old has “substantial net benefit.”
According to the task force, colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death for both men and women, with an estimated 52,980 persons in the US projected to die of colorectal cancer in 2021.
This type of cancer is most frequently diagnosed among people aged 65 to 74 years. However, 10.5% of new colorectal cancer cases occur in people younger than 50 years old, and incidence of colorectal cancer in people 40 to 49 years old increased by nearly 15% from 2000-2002 and 2014-2016, according to the task force.