Experts Recommend That Colorectal Cancer Screening Start at Age 45

The U.S Preventive Services Task Force recently issued a guideline recommending that people at average risk for colorectal cancer start undergoing screening exams when they’re 45, as opposed to the conventional 50 years. This recommendation was prompted by the recent increase in colorectal cancer cases in individuals who are below 50.

These changes, which were published on JAMA Network, align with recommendations from the American Cancer Society. Colorectal cancer is sometimes referred to as rectal cancer, colon cancer or bowel cancer. It usually begins in the rectum or colon, which make up part of the large intestine.

Most cases of colorectal cancer start as growths known as polyps on the inside lining of the rectum or colon. These polyps usually mutate into cancer over time. It should be noted that the likelihood of a polyp becoming cancerous is mainly dependent on the polyp type.

Colorectal cancer is among the most preventable malignancies, with data showing that since the 1980s, its overall incidence in people aged 50 and above has diminished, mainly due to increased screening. Colorectal cancer screening tests are widely available and can be used to detect the disease, which has a long natural history of progression, in its early stages.

Young-Onset Colorectal Cancer Center director Kimmie Ng stated that since the 1990s, there has been an increase in the incidence of colorectal cancer in people who are aged below 50. Data shows that rectal cancer and colon cancer diagnoses increased from 9% and 5% in 2010 to 15% and 11% respectively in 2020. The cause for the increase in young-onset colorectal cancer isn’t known.

Ng explains that decreasing the recommended age to begin screening would make colorectal cancer screening available to more individuals in the United States and save more lives by catching the disease in its early stages, in addition to preventing it.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is financed by the Department of Health and Human Services and is made up of independent experts. The task force reviews evidence of efficaciousness of preventive services and gives recommendations. The panel of experts selected 45 as the age to begin screening based on research which shows that starting screening at that age prevents more early deaths in comparison with beginning screening at age 50. In their publication, the authors note that no change has been made to the task force’s 2016 guideline, which recommended that people between 76 and 85 years of age be screened.

The recommendation that the age at which colorectal cancer screening should begin be lowered is likely to increase the demand for those testing services. The innovative cancer screening technologies developed by companies such as AnPac Bio-Medical Science Co. Ltd. (NASDAQ: ANPC) could come in handy to address that increased demand.

NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to AnPac Bio-Medical Science Co. Ltd. (NASDAQ: ANPC) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://ibn.fm/ANPC

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