The American Cancer Society has been the first major organization to recommend colorectal cancer screening should begin at age 45. Now the US Preventative Services Taskforce has also suggested this is the correct age to begin screening for all patients. The proposed guideline is under review and comments are open until November 23. The American College of Gastroenterology is also in the process of updating and finalizing the College’s colorectal cancer screening guidelines, last updated in 2008.
In the wake of young colon cancer spikes, most notably the early demise of Chadwick Boseman, there has been a push to begin screening patients earlier. However, the small nudge down from the usual screening age of 50 to 45 does not really address the fact that the risk for colon cancer is dropping amongst all ages except those 20-30. That demographic has a small but real rise in overall rates. There are currently no guidelines to screen asymptomatic patients in this age range, but aggressive assessment of all symptoms is encouraged.