New Colorectal Cancer Screening Guidelines

Posted by LasColinasCancerCare on May 22nd, 2019

The American Cancer Society has made changes to the guidelines for colon and rectal cancer screening. Colorectal cancer accounts for thousands of cancer-related deaths and ranks third among the leading causes of cancer-related deaths in the United States. The initial guidelines recommended that adults should go for their first screening at the age of 50 but the updated guidelines now say 45 years.

Five years is a big difference but the society has good reason to make such a recommendation. Here is why:

  • Doctors are seeing an increase in colorectal cancer cases in people younger than 50. This means that many times the tumor has grown and the cancer has spread further by the time the person goes for screening. This of course increases the complexity of treatment depending on how far the cancer has progressed.
  • Colorectal cancer begins with the formation of polyps in the colon or rectum. These polyps can be cancerous or non-cancerous but the non-cancerous polyps can turn malignant if left to develop further. Screening early will ensure doctors find and remove any polyps and check for cancer. Catching cancer early improves the survival chances of patients and also improves the response to treatment.
  • About one in three people above 50 years do not get screened for colorectal cancerand this affects the survival rates in the country. Screening is about prevention or early detection and is therefore always advisable.

So far, it is only the US that has made these new recommendations. The move is yet to spread to other regions. Doctors are also not sure whether it will have the expected impact but hopes remain high. In the meantime, patients will need to consult with their doctors to decide the best option for them. Coming to a consensus from an informed perspective is better than making the choice on their own without a medical perspective.

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At Las Colinas Cancer Center, a Choice Cancer Care Treatment Center, our team is committed to providing the personalized, compassionate treatment that can make all the difference in cancer care.

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