Colorectal cancer screening should start at 50 for average-risk adults, ACP says

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted March 19, 2012

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Physicians should assess adult patients’ risk of developing colorectal cancer and begin screening for the disease at age 50 for those considered at average risk, according to guidance from the American College of Physicians. The ACP statement was published in the March 6 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine.

For patients at high-risk of developing the disease, screening should start at 40, or 10 years before the age at which the individual’s youngest relative was diagnosed with colorectal cancer, the ACP said. Those at high risk include people with at least one parent or sibling who had the disease and individuals who have inflammatory bowel disease (link).

The ACP recommends that doctors use optical colonoscopy to screen high-risk patients. Those at average risk can be screened with a stool-based test, flexible sigmoidoscopy or optical colonoscopy.

The ACP said doctors should not test for the disease among patients who are older than 75 or have a life expectancy of less than 10 years.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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