The Colorectal Cancer Alliance (Alliance), a national nonprofit that exists to end colorectal cancer, today applauds the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) for updating its colorectal cancer (CRC) screening guidelines in response to rising cases of CRC in younger adults.
The new guidelines state that all people who are at average risk for the disease should begin screening for colorectal cancer at age 45. CRC is the nation’s second deadliest cancer in men and women combined. People at higher risk may need to be screened earlier. Learn more about the new guidelines here.
Previously, people at average risk were to begin screening at age 50. African Americans have been under a standing recommendation to start screening at age 45, due to increased incidence and mortality in the Black community.
Although the American Cancer Society made a similar recommendation in 2018, the USPSTF’s guidelines are followed by Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance plans, as required by the Affordable Care Act.
Statement from Michael Sapienza, CEO of the Colorectal Cancer Alliance:
“The new guidelines from the United States Preventive Services Task Force makes it possible for more than 15 million additional Americans to receive life-saving colorectal cancer screenings. This is a recommendation that will save lives.
Young-onset colorectal cancer cases are increasing at a startling rate, and this new guidance addresses that reality. More than 1 in 10 colorectal cancer cases are in people younger than age 50. Patients diagnosed under age 50 are typically diagnosed with more advanced and deadly cancer, largely due to a lack of timely screening.
This change to the recommended screening age will save thousands of lives. Lives of people who are just reaching the pinnacle of their careers, families, and contributions to society. These are, in many cases, moms and dads of young children. The impact cannot be overstated.
The first patient I met after my mom died from colon cancer was a 33-year-old mother who died in 2013. She was the first of hundreds, if not thousands, of patients I’ve met who have died from this disease under the age of 50. This announcement is a huge step forward in the colorectal cancer community.
While there is still work to be done, today is certainly a day of celebration at the Colorectal Cancer Alliance and across our community, and we commend the USPSTF.
We urge further research that addresses disparities in the Black community, which is hit harder than other racial and ethnic groups. Black Americans are 20% more likely to be diagnosed with colorectal cancer and 40% more likely to die from it.
The Alliance will continue its investments in research and advocacy to ensure that high-quality and equitable screening and treatment for colorectal cancer is available to all who need it.
We encourage everyone to recognize the importance of screening and take the Colorectal Cancer Alliance’s screening pledge at pledge.getscreened.org.”
For more information, please visit www.ccalliance.org.