"I think it's great that they are finally recognizing that colorectal cancer is being seen at younger ages and it's not any longer just being considered as the older man's disease", Georges said. Those at a higher risk, including African Americans and Alaska natives, should get screened even earlier. In its new recommendations, the cancer society recommends choosing from one of six screening tests, which are also now recommended by other expert groups.
Regular screening should continue until age 75, and "clinicians should discourage individuals over 85 from continuing colorectal cancer screening", because the risk of complications outweighs the benefits at that age, said the report.
Her gynecologist routinely suggested early colorectal screening for patients, and Lari's testing lead to a shocking diagnosis of advanced colon cancer at age 47. Colon cancer, combined with rectal cancer, is the second leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. "It allows you to find polyps before they become cancer".
The new recommendation is for people at average risk, those who do not have a history of colon or rectal polyps.
Based on the available studies, only the question regarding family risk could be sufficiently answered in IQWiG's final report from 2013: Under 55-year-olds with at least one first-degree relative with colorectal cancer have a 1.7 to 4.1 times higher risk of also developing colorectal cancer than people of the same age without a family history of colorectal cancer.
Dr. Thomas Weber, who is the co-chairman of an early-age onset colon cancer task group for the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable but who was not involved in writing the new recommendation, called lowering the age for first screening "a game changer" that could save thousands of lives.
Those strategies were undergoing colonoscopy every 10 years; a computed tomography colonography or "virtual colonoscopy" every five years; a flexible sigmoidoscopy every five years; a multitarget stool DNA test every three years; a take-home fecal immunochemical test annually; or a take-home high-sensitivity guaiac fecal occult blood test annually.
Six test options range from non-invasive to colonoscopies.
In a press release announcing the update, the ACS said there is an expectation that screening will be regularly performed in adults age 45-49 as it has been recommended for those aged 50 and older.
When an organization like the American Cancer Society changes its recommendations, insurance companies typically follow suit. It used existing data to estimate the effects of screening at age 45.
The American Cancer Society says it endorsed the full range of screening tests "without preference" in order to improve the rate of screening. "But those things do not fully explain the rise".
The increasing incidence of colorectal cancer in younger adults is an epidemic within the cancer community. It updated its colon cancer guidelines in 2016 and its next review isn't expected until around 2021.
Dr. Baber said he was not surprised it would issue the new guidelines.
"It's clear that screening is working; the incidence and mortality from colorectal cancer have gone down in people over 50", Labow told MedPage Today.
Finding the factor or factors driving the development of colorectal cancer in young patients could be key in preventing the disease.
For any adult, no matter how old, Chang said that paying attention to your body and bowel habits are important for tracking your overall health - and that alerting your doctor to any changes is key.
She said rates are not only increasing among people in their 40s, but also among those in their 20s and 30s (though the incidence at those ages remains low). "There is excellent evidence that we are doing the right thing".