Screening For Colon Cancer Just Got Much Younger

Adjust Comment Print

The organisation stated that the screening should begin at age 45, after a research recently conducted revealed that there was a 51 percent percent increase in colorectal cancer among people under 50 since 1994, and an accompanying rise in death rates.

"There's nothing to stop insurers from covering the tests starting at age 45, and some are likely to do so, but at this time insurers are not required to (and some might not) cover the cost of colorectal cancer screening before age 50".

In addition, the ACS recommends people in good health "with a life expectancy of more than 10 years" should receive regular screening until the age of 75. A potential harm from screening tests also remains unclear: For instance, harm can be caused by people being wrongly allocated to the risk group, causing unnecessary psychological stress. As part of the review process, the USPSTF took into account three computer simulations that considered different starting ages and screening intervals.

Despite the high cure rate when colon cancer is caught early, only one-third of the Americans over 50 get screened.

Finding the factor or factors driving the development of colorectal cancer in young patients could be key in preventing the disease. Worldwide, nearly 850,000 people will die of colorectal cancer annually.

Currently, USPSTF, a government-backed independent panel that assesses the evidence for medical procedures, recommends screening from the age of 50. Doctors also recommend stool blood tests, which are done every year. Colorectal cancer has not been linked to the human papillomavirus (HPV), which can cause anal cancer, as well as cervical, throat, penile and other types of cancer. But the share of cases involving younger adults has risen to 29% for rectal cancer and 17% for colon cancer, a recent study showed. "We've known for a while that some groups are at a higher risk for colorectal cancer, but what is becoming clear is that the prevalence in the white population is rising".

"I went in there not thinking there's going to be a problem, and I wake up with two doctors standing over me saying, 'We have an issue, '" said Fritsche, a competitive athlete who said he follows a healthy diet and has no family history of colon cancer.

The group said improved screening techniques is a possible reason more cases of colorectal cancer are being found in the 45-50 age group.

Insurance providers consider available evidence, clinical guidelines and recommendations from organizations such as the American Cancer Society to understand when preventive screenings are needed. "That's the public health statement, which is, pay attention to your bowels, and seek medical care if things don't seem right, if there's blood in your stools or your bowel habits change suddenly".

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

Screening is generally done routinely every ten years.