Don't Wait Till 50 for Your Colon Cancer Screening


The new recommended age is for people at an average risk.

New guidelines recommend that US adults begin colon cancer screenings earlier, at age 45 instead of 50.

This new guideline could be as effective against colon cancer for the young as it was for those who are older. CBS News chief medical correspondent and gastroenterologist Dr. Jon LaPook joins "CBS This Morning" to discuss the guidelines.

The American Cancer Society hopes it will help to catch colon or rectal cancer early.

According to Elena Ivanina, a gastroenterologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in NY, the 51 percent increase in colorectal cancer among those under age 50 since 1994 is an "alarming" trend. The group endorses six kinds of screening exams, from low-cost take-home stool tests performed every year to colonoscopies done every 10. Rich Wender. "The best test is the test that gets done".

Weinstein said if Exact can eventually get the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to expand approval of Cologuard to screen people starting at age 45, it could add as many as 25 million patients to the current 85 million Americans in the recommended age group.

That panel's recommendations drive what screening is covered by insurance under the Affordable Care Act, although 20 states have laws that link coverage to the cancer society guidelines.

"But as we saw data pointing to a persistent trend of increasing colorectal cancer incidence in younger adults, including American Cancer Society research that indicated this effect would carry forward with increasing age, we made a decision to reevaluate the age to initiate screening in all USA adults".

Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths behind lung cancer.

Some experts have anxious about pre-50 risks of colon cancer in some racial and ethnic groups, and at least one specialty society for gastroenterologists has urged screening of black adults starting at age 45.

Church is a member of American Cancer Society Guideline Development Group which is responsible for updating cancer screening guidelines. There were no other changes made to other screening tests.

"We should be able to do both", said Wolf, a University of Virginia internist.