Newly updated guidelines for colon and rectal cancer screening

The American Cancer Society’s newly updated guidelines for colon and rectal cancer screening recommend that adults at average risk get screened starting at age 45 instead of 50, as previously advised. For more information please click here.

These updated guidelines are likely a result of what seems to be a rise in colorectal cancer among younger adults. Some studies suggest that the rates of colorectal cancer deaths are climbing among American adults younger than 55. After declining overall from 1970 to 2004, colon and rectal cancer mortality rates among 20- to 54-year-olds in the United States increased by 1% annually from 2004 to 2014, according to a study published last year in the medical journal JAMA.

It is important to note that other health organizations, such as the US Preventive Services Task Force, still recommend routine screening for colon and rectal cancers starting at age 50.

Many insurance providers may deny coverage for screening colonoscopies before the age of 50. It is important for patients to learn the details of their specific health coverage as it pertains to colon cancer screening.

It is our recommendation, that for all patients, regardless of age, that you pay attention to your body and bowel habits. Alerting your doctor to any changes is key to maintaining your overall health.