New colon cancer screening guidelines are lifesavers

If you were born in the 80s or later, you're at significantly higher risk of colon and rectal cancer — and experts say you should get screened younger

Many journalists fail to question new Cancer Society colorectal cancer screening guidelines

Exact Sciences Chief Executive Officer Kevin Conroy said Cologuard is a cheaper way to screen younger people.

For colorectal cancer, the American Cancer Society didn't push one screening option over another but listed various options: High-sensitivity stool tests, created to detect blood in feces, which need to be administered every year; a DNA stool test, sold under the brand name Cologuard, every three years; a colonoscopy, every 10 years; or a virtual colonoscopy or flexible sigmoidoscopy, every five years.

There are six tests the ACS suggests as options for screening.

Others argue that instead of lowering the age for routine screening, more effort should be put into getting more people tested.

"Consumers should also understand that there are many screening options, and they may find certain screening options more affordable than others, particularly when faced with potential out-of-pocket expenses", the statement said. "You are talking about screening 21 million extra individuals".

Outside of the cost and the frequency in which a test is recommended to be done, "all these tests are approximately equal in their value and can be offered", Wender said. The recommendations apply to adults who are at average risk of the disease; this includes most people in the United States. "The evidence is now absolutely clear, and I can't emphasize how carefully this was done".

Chang, of MD Anderson, said he thought that 45 years old "makes sense" for the start of screening.

What explains the rise in colorectal cancer?

The ACS paper said colonoscopies, visual tests and a high-sensitivity stool-based test are effective means of detecting colorectal cancer.

KUSI was joined by Dr. Samuel Eisenstein, a colorectal surgeon at UC San Diego Health & the Moore's Cancer Center, with more on the importance of early detection.

While rates have remained stable for blacks under 50 - a group whose rates have traditionally been higher than whites - they have increased for whites under 50. "This appears to be a real phenomenon".

The change ... is not based on the results of a new clinical trial but rather modeling studies based on increasing prevalence of colorectal cancer among USA adults in their 40s.

"While we have not identified the causal factor, it is likely that all of these factors contribute to this rising incidence", he said. For adults ages 76 to 85, doctors should base their recommendations on patient preferences, life expectancy, health, and the results of prior screening. Studies are showing younger people are now getting the disease. Barfield added it's important to pay attention to any symptoms, including bleeding, blood in the stool, change in bowel habits, or stomach pain.

"I would say an actual colonoscopy would be the best for multiple reasons", David Bernstein, chief of hepatology at Northwell Health in NY, told Agence France-Presse.

"You need to check for colon cancer because it's an easy diagnosis".

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