clearn.png
Saturday October 23rd, 2021 7:36AM

Health panel proposes colon cancer tests start at 45, not 50

By The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — A panel of health experts wants U.S. adults to start getting colon cancer screenings at age 45, five years younger than it previously recommended.

While overall, colon cancer rates have been declining, the draft guidelines issued Tuesday by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force reflect a growing concern about rising rates in people under the age of 50.

“We’ve seen more data showing that younger people are getting colon cancer at higher rates," said Dr. Alex Krist, a family doctor at Virginia Commonwealth University and a member of the task force. "Basically a 45-year-old today has the same risk of getting colon cancer as a 50-year-old from years past.”

The task force is a volunteer panel of doctors that regularly reviews evidence and issues advice on medical tests and treatments.

The group is proposing that adults of average risk for colon cancer be screened from ages 45 to 75. How often the tests are done depends on the type of screening: a colonoscopy is usually every five to 10 years while stool-based tests are every year. After age 75, the task force says screening decisions should be made on an individual basis.

“Most people who get colon cancer have no signs, no symptoms and no risks. And so that’s why we recommend that everyone get screened,” Krist said.

The task force advice on screening doesn't apply to those with colon cancer, polyps or a family history of colon cancer or genetic disorders that increase their risk. Tuesday's proposal also emphasizes that the disease occurs more often, is screened for less and leads to more deaths in Black adults.

Colon cancer, along with rectal cancer, is the third leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S., with an estimated 148,000 new cases this year.

The task force proposal brings it in line with guidelines from the American Cancer Society, which in 2018 lowered the screening age from 50 to 45. With the change, doctors should feel comfortable recommending colon cancer screens to younger patients, said the cancer group's Robert Smith.

“We’ve been anticipating this for a while,” Smith said.

Earlier testing would help detect precancerous polyps or early cancer in younger patients before the disease requires more aggressive treatment, said Dr. Nancy You of MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

“We have a lot more treatment options that are less invasive and have better results when we treat cancer at the earlier stages," she said. "That makes a huge difference to our patients.”

Experts anticipate it will still be a challenge getting people screened. Currently, 1 in 4 people between 50 and 75 have never been screened for the disease, and only about 60% of U.S. adults are up to date on their colon cancer screenings, Krist said.

If the recommendations are finalized, screenings for younger people would be covered by most private insurance plans, with no copay. The Affordable Care Act mandates that insurers cover services recommended by the task force.

The proposal is open for public comment through Nov. 23.

___

Follow Marion Renault on Twitter: @MarionRenault

___

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, Top General short headlines, AP Health
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Voting by mail isn't so easy on Native American reservations
Native American voting advocates say the slow-moving nature of mail on large reservations puts the people who live there at a disadvantage to getting their votes counted
11:42AM ( 1 hour ago )
Hurricane warning for New Orleans as Zeta swirls over Mexico
A hurricane warning has been issued for the U.S. Gulf Coast including New Orleans
11:40AM ( 1 hour ago )
After high court ruling, DOJ wants census challenges stopped
Now that the Supreme Court has allowed the Trump administration to end the 2020 census count, Department of Justice attorneys say the courts shouldn’t interfere with efforts to meet a year-end deadline for turning in numbers used for divvying up congressional seats by state
11:38AM ( 1 hour ago )
U.S. News
Voting by mail isn't so easy on Native American reservations
Native American voting advocates say the slow-moving nature of mail on large reservations puts the people who live there at a disadvantage to getting their votes counted
11:42AM ( 1 hour ago )
Hurricane warning for New Orleans as Zeta swirls over Mexico
A hurricane warning has been issued for the U.S. Gulf Coast including New Orleans
11:40AM ( 1 hour ago )
After high court ruling, DOJ wants census challenges stopped
Now that the Supreme Court has allowed the Trump administration to end the 2020 census count, Department of Justice attorneys say the courts shouldn’t interfere with efforts to meet a year-end deadline for turning in numbers used for divvying up congressional seats by state
11:38AM ( 1 hour ago )
Protests flare in Philadelphia after police kill Black man
More than a dozen people were arrested and more than 30 officers injured in protests stemming from the police shooting death of a Black man in Philadelphia
11:35AM ( 1 hour ago )
Stop the music! Chorus of artists tell Trump to turn it down
The presidential campaign season has brought an unprecedented onslaught of angry musicians who say President Donald Trump can't always get what he wants
10:58AM ( 2 hours ago )