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Health experts recommend people get screened for colon cancer earlier than 50

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force released new guidelines recommending for people to get screened for colon cancer at 45 now.

TAMPA, Fla — Doctors say they are seeing the age drop when it comes to the fight against colorectal cancer.

“We’re absolutely seeing colorectal cancer occur in younger patients compared to years before,” said Dr. Julian Sanchez with Moffit Cancer Center.

It’s why the U.S. Preventive Services Take Force is lowering the age to begin screening to 45 instead of 50.

“The median age for colorectal cancer diagnoses is still over the age of 60, but we’re seeing about 10 percent of colorectal cancer cases occur in people under 50,” Dr. Sanchez said.  

Screening can be in the form of a colonoscopy, stool tests or blood tests but Dr. Julian Sanchez says a colonoscopy is best.

“If you do some of the other testing methods it's almost not treatable because even though there is a polyp, the test itself doesn’t remove the polyps, so the patients who test positive with a stool test would then have to go get a follow-up colonoscopy to get the polyps out.”

Dr. Sanchez says while more research is needed to determine why cases are rising in younger adults, many people think it's due to diet and lack of exercise.

The good news is colorectal cancer is very treatable if it’s found early. Otherwise. it’s the third leading cause of cancer deaths in the US.

American Cancer Society projections show by the year 2040, it could be the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U-S for 20 to 49-year-olds. – Right now, it’s breast cancer.

Doctors say cases are increasing for both men and women but are especially on the rise among African Americans.

“We can see that Black Americans have increased incidents of colorectal cancer at a younger age, and they are more likely to die of colorectal cancer,” Sanchez said. “Physicians should really talk to their black patients and let them know these patients specifically need to pay attention to the colorectal cancer guidelines and get their screening on time.”

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