Did you know the recommended age for colorectal cancer (CRC) screening is now 45 for the general population (or those at average risk)? The age recommendation (previously 50) changed in May 2018 after researchers analyzed data and found that the rate of new CRC cases is increasing in younger adult populations. This new age recommendation will result in earlier CRC detection and will save more lives.
While colonoscopy is the gold standard test for CRC screening and recommended every 10 years between ages 45 and 75 for those at average risk, stool-based tests can also be used, as long as immediate follow-up with a colonoscopy is performed in the presence of an abnormal test. These tests include an annual highly sensitive fecal immunochemical test (FIT), an annual highly sensitive guaiac-based fecal occult blood test (gFOBT), and a multi-targeted stool DNA test (MT-sDNA) every 3 years.
For some, screening is recommended before the age of 45. If you answer yes to any of the following questions, earlier screening is recommended:
- Have you or a close relative ever had colorectal polyps or colorectal cancer?
- Do you have inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis)?
- Do you have familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (Lynch syndrome)?
- Have you undergone radiation to the abdomen or pelvic area to treat cancer?
If you are unsure if you qualify for early screening or are confused about what test is best for you, consult your healthcare practitioner or local gastroenterologist.