Fight Colorectal Cancer Submits Official Comment to the United States Preventive Services Task Force Urging For Screening To Begin at 45

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Today, Fight Colorectal Cancer (Fight CRC) submitted an official comment on behalf of thousands of advocates urging The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) to finalize their recommendation to adapt the colorectal cancer (CRC) screening guidelines and lower the age to begin screening to 45. 

Fight CRC praised the USPSTF for updating its stance on colorectal cancer screening for average-risk individuals to include those 45 to 49 years, in response to the alarming growth of early age-onset colorectal cancer (EAO CRC). Suggestions to further strengthen the guidelines were also provided, based on input from members of the Medical Advisory Board and Early Age Onset Workgroup, such as upgrading the recommendation from a B to A grade and designating follow-up colonoscopies for evaluation of abnormal stool tests as part of the screening process, rather than a separate diagnostic procedure. In response to the proposed USPSTF guidelines, we recommend that essential factors for adaptability and application be considered, such as cost, resources needed, and potential barriers to implementation, access, and feasibility.

Through a collaboration with the Colorectal Cancer Alliance and the Colon Cancer Coalition, nearly 1,600 advocates participated in an action alert to voice their support for the draft language. 

“I was diagnosed with stage IIIB cancer at 48 years old, I had no symptoms that would have indicated colon cancer prior to discovering a bulge in my lower abdomen myself,” said colorectal cancer survivor Tayde Castro. “If I had been screened at 45, the disease would have been detected at an earlier stage, and I would not be dealing with Stage IV cancer now, as my disease has progressed. Prevention is the key.” 

If the draft recommendation is accepted and screening guidelines change, thousands of people ages 45-49 will need to be screened. Although the American Cancer Society recommended the age be lowered to 45 in 2018, many insurers and medical providers follow the USPSTF guidelines to determine insurance coverage. If the age for average-risk screening colonoscopy gets lowered, thousands could benefit from access to life-saving colorectal cancer screening. 

Colorectal cancer is one of the only cancers that is truly preventable with screening, and it is highly treatable with early detection. The USPSTF is an independent panel of experts in primary care and prevention that systematically reviews the evidence of effectiveness and develops recommendations for clinical preventive services. 

The USPSTF will release their official recommendations in the coming months.
Read our official comment on our blog and learn more about screening guidelines. Fight CRC President Anjee Davis is available for comments, contact media@fightcrc.org to arrange an interview.

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