Article provided by NPR
Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in the United States, most frequently diagnosed among adults over 65. To catch those typically slow-growing malignancies early, when they can often be cured, most doctors’ groups recommend colorectal cancer screening starting at age 50.
But the American Cancer Society this week changed its advice and is recommending that screening start five years earlier.
“There is compelling evidence that the optimum age to start is now 45,” says Dr. Richard Wender, chief cancer control officer of the society, who cites a sharp increase in deaths from colon and rectal cancers among men and women under age 50.
“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,” Wender says.
And the rise is not just because detection is getting better, he says. In fact, the risk of developing colon cancer is twice as high as it was years ago and the risk of developing rectal cancer is four times higher.
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