As colorectal cancer rises in young people, new guidelines recommend screening start at 45
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IMAGE: Andi Dwyer and colleagues report updated colorectal cancer screening recommendations. view more 

Credit: University of Colorado Cancer Center

The American Cancer Society (ACS) and other preventive guideline organizations recommend that screening for colorectal cancer start for people of average risk at age 50. However, new data showing rising colorectal cancer incidence in people younger than 50 – and in some cases much younger than 50 – may argue for an earlier start to screening. A study published today the journal Cancer adds this new data to the model used as a basis for the ACS guidelines, showing what it calls a “favorable balance between screening benefits and burden” with screening starting at age 45, five years younger than currently recommended for both men and women of all races and ethnicities.

“Moving the start of screening back to age 45 for the average risk population is a considerable change,” says Andrea (Andi) Dwyer, director of the Colorado Colorectal Screening Program at the University of Colorado Cancer Center and program director at the Colorado School of Public Health. “If everyone followed screening recommendations based on risk, we could cut colorectal cancer mortality by at least a half, with some estimates

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