New rules for colorectal cancer screening: Blacks have the highest death rates for U.S. colorectal cancer

PHILADELPHIA, March 5 (UPI) — U.S. physicians should screen for colorectal cancer in average risk adults at age 50 and older and high risk adults at the age of 40, new guidance advise.

The American College of Physicians issued a new guidance statement Monday for colorectal cancer screening — the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths for U.S. men and women.

Virginia L. Hood, president of American College of Physicians, said guidance recommends physicians perform an individualized assessment of risk for colorectal cancer in all adults and that high risk adults start screening at the age of 40 or 10 years younger than the age at which the youngest affected relative was diagnosed with colorectal cancer.

Risk factors for colorectal cancer include increasing age; race — African-Americans have the highest incidence and mortality rates for U.S. colorectal cancer; personal history of polyps, inflammatory bowel disease, or colorectal cancer; or having a family history of the disease, Hood said.

“The American College of Physicians encourages adults to get screened for colorectal cancer starting at the age of 50,” Hood said in a statement. “Only about 60 percent of American adults age 50 and older get screened, even though the effectiveness of colorectal cancer screening in reducing deaths is supported by the available evidence.”

The guidance statement and a patient summary appear in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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