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New guidelines for colonoscopy screenings

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Colon cancer screening should begin at 45-American Cancer Society

"Based on the science behind Cologuard, and the multiple rigorous studies supporting its performance, we believe that further clinical data will demonstrate Cologuard would be well-suited for screening individuals beginning at age 45", said David Ahlquist, M.D., gastroenterologist at Mayo Clinic and co-developer of Cologuard.

Across America, our Never Too Young Advisory Board will work tirelessly to educate primary care physicians and gastrointestinal medical professionals around symptoms of young-onset colorectal cancer.

Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths behind lung cancer. Colorectal cancer has not been linked to the human papillomavirus (HPV), which can cause anal cancer, as well as cervical, throat, penile and other types of cancer. A study published today the journal Cancer ads this new data to the model used as a basis for the ACS guidelines, showing what it calls a "favorable balance between screening benefits and burden" with screening starting at age 45, five years younger than now recommended for both men and women of all races and ethnicities.

If you're in your mid-40's and haven't had your colon checked, it might be time. We just have to face reality.

Why the change in screening? These studies provided no answers to the research question of the rapid report, however: Due to a lack of new findings, benefit or harm of the screening for people under the age of 55 years with a family history remain unclear.

Previously, 50 was the recommended screening age.

The ACS recommends annual screening with a fecal immunochemical test or a high-sensitivity guaiac-based fecal occult blood test or every 3 years with a multitarget stool DNA test. They do not call for everyone to have a colonoscopy, the gold standard of colon cancer screening.

"The American Cancer Society has made a fundamental change in their screening guidelines".

"Consumers should also understand that there are many screening options, and they may find certain screening options more affordable than others, particularly when faced with potential out-of-pocket expenses", the statement said.
Still, you should check with your insurance provider to see what they cover before you schedule a colonoscopy.

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The updated recommendations were published May 30 in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, the American Cancer Society's peer-reviewed journal.

"This is a very, very big deal", said Weber, who is director of surgical oncology for the northwest region of Northwell Health.

"All of these tests are good tests, and the choice should be offered to patients", said the cancer society's Dr. "The evidence is now absolutely clear, and I can't emphasize how carefully this was done".

What explains the rise in colorectal cancer? But since 1994, there has been a 51 percent increase in colorectal cancer among those under age 50. It updated its colon cancer guidelines in 2016 and its next review isn't expected until around 2021.

"Doctors have noticed an alarming trend - an increase in people like Jay, under age 50, being diagnosed with the disease", Couric added. "Therefore, what we've observed with the rising incidence is not simply a result of detection bias", Chang said.

The reason: We don't know why but wonder whether it is obesity, diet, or the environment.

Ongoing studies are looking at a multitude of factors that might be contributing to the earlier cancer incidence. Colorectal cancer can be treated if detected in its early stages.

Some of the increase could stem from the increase in obesity in the US, a known risk factor for colorectal cancer, he says. "I have to keep up with my health so I do everything that the doctors ask me to do", said Keith Chalmers of Wilkes-Barre. "There is excellent evidence that we are doing the right thing".

She applauded the move toward earlier screening, saying it "will benefit the general public". And some will cover stool testing, but refuse to cover follow-up colonoscopies for those with abnormal results, he said.

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