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Rise in colorectal cancer among adults younger than 50 leads to new screening guidelines

Lowering the age of testing could result in 11,000 deaths averted over five years

Post Date:November 17, 2020 8:00 AM
FacultyFola May
Image of UCLA cancer researchers Drs. Fola May and Carol Mangione
Drs. Fola May (left) and Carol Mangione

New guidelines are calling for adults to begin screening for colorectal cancer at age 45 instead of 50, a recommendation that makes an additional 21 million Americans eligible for colonoscopy or other screening methods.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, the preeminent scientific body responsible for national health recommendations, recently issued a draft version of the new guidelines, which are expected to be finalized in the coming months. The move was in response to an increase in colorectal cancer among younger adults.


 “This is a major departure from what they have recommended in the past for colorectal cancer screening, which was to start at age 50,” says UCLA Health gastroenterologist and gastroenterology quality improvement director Folasade P. May, MD, PhD, MPhil. “Everyone needs to know that once these recommendations are formalized, if you’re 45 years old, you’re already due — don’t wait five years.”

Click here to read the UCLA Health Connect blog.

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