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According to the new guidelines the American Cancer Society (ACS) released May 30 colorectal cancer screening should begin at 45 years old rather than 50. (4)

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the fourth most common cancer diagnosed among adults in the United States, and the second leading cause of death from cancer according CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.(4) Due to screening, overall rates of CRC cancer have declined since the 1980s; however, CRC rates have increased in younger age groups (20-49 years or age). (3)

According to the American Cancer Society, “those born in 1990 have double the risk of colon cancer and quadruple the risk of rectal cancer compared to people born around 1950, when risk was lowest.” (3)

Early detection and removal of adenomatous polyps and other precancerous lesions that lead to CRC at an earlier stage have been shown to significantly reduce incidence and mortality. (1) Now adults 45 years or older with an average CRC risk – those who don’t have a personal or family history of CRC or inflammatory bowel syndrome – should screen for CRC annually with either a high-sensitivity stool-based test or a structural (visual) examination. (2) Following a positive noncolonoscopy result, a colonoscopy should follow immediately.

For your convenience PEPID has made a quick and easy reference for the new ACS screening recommendation for people at an average risk for CRC.

Changeable unhealthy lifestyle choices like smoking tobacco, heavy alcohol use, not exercising, and foregoing fruits and vegetables while still eating processed and red meats contribute to the development of colorectal cancer. Other contributing factors, such as family history and some genetic syndromes, are beyond control. (1)



1 American Cancer Society Guideline for Colorectal Cancer Screening. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.cancer.org/cancer/colon-rectal-cancer/detection-diagnosis-staging/acs-recommendations.html

2 Cunningham, A. (2018, June 13). Experts advise: Start colorectal screening at 45, not 50. Retrieved from https://www.sciencenews.org/article/experts-advise-start-colorectal-screening-45-not-50

3 Study Finds Sharp Rise in Colon Cancer and Rectal Cancer Rates Among Young Adults. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.cancer.org/latest-news/study-finds-sharp-rise-in-colon-cancer-and-rectal-cancer-rates-among-young-adults.html

4  Wolf, A. M., Fontham, E. T., Church, T. R., Flowers, C. R., Guerra, C. E., LaMonte, S. J., . . . Smith, R. A. (2018, May 30). Colorectal cancer screening for average‐risk adults: 2018 guideline update from the American Cancer Society. Retrieved from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.3322/caac.21457