This week the American Cancer Society (ACS) lowered its recommended age for colorectal cancer screening from 50 to 45. The incidence of colon cancer has been increasing among a younger population, prompting the update. Previously, the ACS recommended colon screening start at age 45 for adults with higher risk – such as African Americans, Native Alaskans, or people with a family history of colorectal abnormalities. But now, that recommendation covers adults at average risk, with the hope that more cases will be caught sooner.
Research shows that since 1994, colorectal cancer among people under 50 has shot up 51%. In the meantime, cases and deaths have steadily declined in patients over 55 partly because of screenings which can lead to the detection and removal of polyps before they become cancerous. Gastroenterologists at Capital Digestive Care have been following the troubling trend of rising colon cancer rates in young adults for some time. But they stress that colon cancer is typically considered a preventable disease if caught in time.