Updated colorectal screening guidelines were recently released by The American Cancer Society (ACS). Because new cases of colorectal cancer are occurring at an increasing rate among younger adults, the new recommendations include that  screening should begin at age 45 for people at average risk. Previously, the guideline recommended screening begin at age 50 for people at average risk

Average risk individuals:

While colonoscopy remains the most sensitive and specific test for screening, other recommended colorectal cancer screening tests include:

  • Stool-based tests:

o   Highly sensitive fecal immunochemical test (FIT) every year

o   Highly sensitive guaiac-based fecal occult blood test (gFOBT) every year

o   Multi-targeted stool DNA test (MT-sDNA) every 3 years

  • Visual exams:

o    Colonoscopy every 10 years

o    CT colonography (virtual colonoscopy) every 5 years

o    Flexible sigmoidoscopy (FSIG) every 5 years

It is important that you speak with your physician to go over the benefits of each test based on your personal health history and formulate a personalized plan for screening.

Individuals who are at higher than average risk:

Individuals at increased risk should review with their physician when to start screening, how frequently screening should be conducted as well as the best modality for screening.

  • Family history of colorectal cancer or certain types of polyps.

  • Personal history of colorectal cancer or certain types of polyps.

  • Personal history of inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease)

  • Family history of a hereditary colorectal cancer syndrome such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or Lynch syndrome (also known as hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer or HNPCC)

  • A personal history of radiation to the abdomen or pelvic area to treat a prior cancer

Risks for colorectal cancer should be reviewed with your physician in order to determine a screening plan.