New guidelines developed by the American Cancer Society (ACS) recommend that screening for colorectal cancer for average-risk adults begin at age 45, five years earlier than the previous recommendation. The guideline update, published as an Early View paper in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians available online here, was co-authored by Elizabeth T. H. Fontham, DrPH, Emeritus Professor and Founding Dean of LSU Health New Orleans School of Public Health and Co-Chair of the American Cancer Society’s Screening Guideline Development Group.
The recommendations are based in part on research that found an increased incidence of colorectal cancer in younger adults. Among adults younger than 55 years, there was a 51% increase in the incidence of colorectal cancer (CRC) from 1994 to 2014 and an 11% increase in deaths 2005 to 2015. The authors reported that colorectal cancer incidence has declined steadily over the past two decades in people 55 and older, partly due to screening that results in the removal of polyps. A recent analysis 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, who have the lowest risk. Studies suggest
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