The American Cancer Society (ACS) updated their guideline for colorectal cancer screening to include all men and women by age 45 for people at average risk. The previous guidelines were less rigid and did not recommend screenings begin for the average person until age 50.
Anyone can call for free information about colorectal issues and screening by contacting the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345 or visiting us at cancer.org/coloncancer.
The changes were made after analyzing data from a study led by ACS researchers. These data demonstrated the number of cases where colorectal cancer occurred had an increasing rate among younger adults.
The committee reporting the data also emphasized the importance of following up with a colorectal specialist if testing comes back abnormal. Because testing procedures have become easier and less invasive over the years, men and women should schedule an in-office visit with a colorectal doctor who can provide details on how and when to test for colorectal cancer.
How to test for Colorectal Cancer?
Several test options are available for those wanting colorectal cancer screening. An in-office visit provides a fast and effective means for men and women to have this test. Colorectal doctors know the easiest means for how and when to test for colorectal cancer:
Stool tests every year (for low-risk patients)
- Fecal immunochemical test (FIT) every year is recommended
- Guaiac-based fecal occult blood test (gFOBT) every year
- Multi-targeted stool DNA test (MT-sDNA) every three years
Visual exams every 5 – 10 years (for low-risk patients)
- Colonoscopy every ten years
- CT colonography (virtual colonoscopy) every 5 years
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy (FSIG) every 5 years
When to test for Colorectal Cancer in High Risk Patients
When there is a family history of colorectal issues including cancer or polyps, screening must begin at an earlier age.There are also American Cancer Society guidelines for patients who fall into this category. Generally, their screening will start at an earlier age. These include people with a family history or a personal history of colon polyps, inflammatory bowel disease, which includes ulcerative colitis and Crones disease, or various other hereditary disorders including adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or Lynch syndrome (also known as hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer or HNPCC).