Don't Wait Till 50 for Your Colon Cancer Screening

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For younger adults like Gale Fritsche, now 55, of Allentown, Pa., existing recommendations fell short.

New guidelines recommend that US adults begin colon cancer screenings earlier, at age 45 instead of 50. In updated guidelines released Wednesday, it inched the recommended age to 45.

Groups known to suffer disproportionately high rates of colon cancer include African-Americans, Alaska Natives, and American Indians.

Church is a member of American Cancer Society Guideline Development Group which is responsible for updating cancer screening guidelines.

The group was influenced by its study, published previous year, that found rising rates of colon cancer and deaths in people younger than 50.

The group endorses six kinds of screening exams, from cheap take-home stool tests performed every year to colonoscopies done every 10.

Research shows that adults born around 1990 have twice the risk of colon cancer and four times the risk of rectal cancer than adults born around 1950, who have the lowest risk, said the report in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society. The organization now recommends adults 45 and older with an average risk of colorectal cancer undergo regular screening with either a high-sensitivity, stool-based test or a visual exam, depending on the patient's preference and test availability.

"This was the first trial ever done of colorectal cancer screening in the world".

"Be aware screening is important, screening can save their lives, screening can actually prevent colorectal cancer", said Church.

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