New recommendations from the United States Preventive Services Task Force aim to offset what experts call an alarming American health trend: a rising number of young people getting diagnosed with, and dying from, colorectal cancer.
The Task Force announced its proposal to lower the suggested age for when to start colorectal screenings, moving it up five years, from 50, to 45. The move may indicate a growing call for awareness and accelerate action amongst an age group that may not know they're at risk.
This was something that I have written about in my book The Good Sh*t now available on Amazon. When we are talking about colorectal screenings, we are talking about colonoscopies! I promise, the prep is manageable, and the procedure is painless. If you have a family history of colorectal cancer, you may need to start your colonoscopies even earlier. For more details, check out the section of The Good Sh*t that features an interview with renowned colorectal surgeon Dr. John Prococinno.
"The prognosis is so much better if you catch it at an earlier stage," shares Dr. Kimmie Ng, the director of the Young-Onset Colorectal Cancer Center at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. "The new guidelines from the United States Preventive Services Task Force are hugely significant. They support and validate the alarming epidemiologic trends we've been seeing: this cancer is rising at about a rate of 2% per year, in people under the age of 50, since the 1990s."
Colorectal cancer impacts the gastrointestinal system's final segment. While lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S., colorectal cancer comes second, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention -- and yet, it remains one of the most treatable, even curable cancers when caught in its early stages.
Even though overall incidence and mortality rates for colorectal cancer have decreased over the past few decades, colorectal cancer deaths among younger adults continue to climb. Thus, it is so important to start getting colonoscopies at an early age.