Screening for colon cancer can begin earlier at the age of 45, according to the new guidelines of the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF). The change, which is the organization’s first update of these recommendations since 2016, reflects the recent increase in colorectal cancer (CRC) rates in younger people.
The USPSTF now recommends that all adults with an average risk of colorectal cancer (CRC) start screening by age 45 instead of age 50 to reduce their risk of dying from colorectal cancer. The rest of the guidelines remain the same; all adults should be screened up to the age of 75, while the decision to screen adults between the ages of 76 and 85 will depend on the individual’s screening history and general health. And the USPSTF still recommends that older adults age 85 and over.
This panel of experts is independent from the US government. Its recommendations are based on a thorough review of the available evidence and assess both the potential benefit and harm of a particular treatment or intervention, such as: B. Screening Tests. The task force also evaluates its recommendations based on the strength of the evidence. She gave the new recommendation that adults aged 45 to 49 years of age should be screened for CRC a B grade, meaning that she concluded with “moderate confidence” that following this recommendation would offer “moderate net benefit”.
The task force found “sufficient evidence” that various screening methods can accurately detect early-stage CRC and adenomatous polyps (abnormal but non-cancerous growths that can later develop into cancer) in this age group, and that various forms of CRC- Screenings (stool tests, colonoscopies, virtual colonoscopies, and flexible sigmoidoscopies) offer moderate benefits in reducing CRC deaths and increasing the number of healthy years of life.
In comparison, the screening recommendation for adults aged 50 to 75 years has an A grade, ie it is made with a high degree of certainty on the basis of convincing evidence of a considerable benefit. (The USPSTF’s research report also provided sufficient evidence that the risk of potential harm from CRC screening is low in this age group, with most of the harm attributable to colonoscopies such as bleeding.)
Although still most common in older adults, the rate of CRC cases and deaths in people under 55 has increased over the past 15 years or so, as previously reported by SELF. While most organizations still advise screening to start at age 50, according to the National Cancer Institute, in 2018 the American Cancer Society revised its CRC screening recommendations to say that those at average risk should stop at age 45 Years should start to reflect this trend in cases.
A central problem that the new USPSTF guidelines on colorectal cancer screening do not explicitly address is the disproportionate impact of CRC on people of color, and especially on black people. Instead, the task force identifies this as an area where there is a research gap. Previous studies and data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that blacks have a significantly higher risk of developing CRC and dying from it compared to whites. Some experts believe that blacks should be screened earlier than other groups, and the American College of Gastroenterology recommends black people at average risk for CRC to start at 45 (while people of other races should wait until 50).
However, more research is needed to identify the factors that contribute to this inequality, such as access to and quality of health care, according to the USPSTF. And after the researchers identify the reasons for the increased risk in blacks, they need to investigate potential interventions to eradicate the inequality. For now, the USPSTF recommends that everyone, regardless of breed, be screened from the age of 45.