University Hospitals Digestive Health Institute Changes Colorectal Cancer Screening Guideline to 45 Years of Age

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Update follows recent news from the American Cancer Society about disease increase in young and middle aged populations

CLEVELAND – Colorectal cancer is one of the most preventable forms of cancer and guidelines adopted by University Hospitals Digestive Health Institute and recommended by the American Cancer Society hope to save even more lives with the revisions. The updated guidelines say colorectal cancer screening should begin at age 45 for all people at average risk. Previous guidelines suggested screening should start at 50 years of age and at age 45 in African Americans.

John Dumot, DO, Director, UH Digestive Health Institute says, “University Hospitals is matching the new guideline from the American Cancer Society for colorectal cancer screening because they recognize a significant number of men and women are being diagnosed with colorectal cancer before age 50. We have seen colorectal cancer develop in young patients and often they have no identifiable risk factors like family history of colorectal cancer.”

According to the American Cancer Society, 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.

Colorectal cancer incidence has declined steadily over the past two decades in people 55 and over, due to screening programs that result in the removal of precancerous polyps. But there has been a 51 percent increase in colorectal cancer among those under age 50 since 1994.

Greg Cooper, MD, Medical Director, GI Cancer Center of Excellence and Co-Program Leader, Cancer Prevention at UH says, “If patients are getting less invasive tests they may not be as accurate and thus have to be done more frequently. Other forms of cancer testing like mammography look for evidence of disease but colonoscopies are the only ones that can actually prevent cancer because you are removing precancerous polyps.”

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