Experts say we should be screening for colorectal cancer five years earlier

Experts say we should be screening for colorectal cancer five years earlier

Screening for colorectal cancer should begin five years earlier, at the age of 45 and not 50, experts at the American Cancer Society claim. Dr Richard Wender, chief cancer control officer of the ACS, cited a recently-published study to back up these claims, highlighting a significant increase in fatalities as a result of bowel cancer among men and women under age the age of 50. According to Wender, waiting too long to screen puts these people at risk.

More significantly, Dr Wender claims that that the figures found in the study prove that the younger generations are more at risk than those preceding them."There is compelling evidence that the optimum age to start is now 45. People born in the 80s and 90s are at higher risk of developing colon cancer, particularly rectal cancer, than people born when I was born back in the '50s," Dr Wender stated.

However, Dr Wender also admitted that most experts are still baffled as to the reason why rates of bowel cancer have increased for new generations, as well as for certain racial demographics: "We just have to face reality. We just don't know why it's increasing ... When we began this guideline update, we were initially focused on whether screening should begin earlier in racial subgroups with higher colorectal cancer incidence, which some organisations already recommend."

"But as we saw data pointing to a persistent trend of increasing colorectal cancer incidence in younger adults, including American Cancer Society research that indicated this effect would carry forward with increasing age, we decided to reevaluate the age to initiate screening in all US adults."

A number of factors are being considered for the increase in bowel cancer rates within certain demographics, including obesity, the use of anti-inflammatory medication, antibiotics and antidepressants, as well as vitamins, probiotics and dietary supplements. However, despite the high cure rate once colorectal cancer is caught early, only approximately 66 per cent of Americans over the age of 50 get themselves screened.

The ACS has also urged young Americans to get themselves screened too. Since the disease has not typically been a concern for younger people, it is often misdiagnosed by physicians, giving the cancer ample time to become more aggressive and progress to a more advanced stage. It has been estimated that anywhere between 15 and 50 per cent of bowel cancel diagnoses are delayed because their doctors missed or misinterpreted the early symptoms.