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Medical groups divided over colon rectal screening age for cancer risk

Different medical groups have come up with different views on fixing the age of screening for rectal and colon cancer. The American Cancer Society has recommended 45 years to start regular screening while other recommendations have gone with 50 years. The Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care has recommended that a colonoscopy should not be used for primary screening.

A guidance statement has been issued by the  American College of Physicians or ACP which provides an insight into what has to be followed on the basis of latest evidence. The president of  ACP, Dr. Robert McLean who is a rheumatologist at the Northeast Medical Group of Yale New Haven Health, Connecticut said that when they did the guidance statement they looked at the guidelines provided by other organizations and made a deep understanding of their process and what might be the reasons for arriving at different conclusions. He told about the statement that 50 years has been concluded as the starting age for screening and that between the age of 50-75 years, people should do some type of screening for colorectal cancer. The various options for this are colonoscopy, flexible sigmoidoscopy and the FIT test or simply a FIT test in two years time.

FIT is fecal immunochemical test and can be done at home and checks for hidden traces of blood in stool. This has been found to be an early sign of cancer. Colonoscopy and flexible sigmoidoscopy are invasive methods wherein the physician looks inside the colon or rectum for cancer signs. Screening recommendations of colorectal cancer from six different organizations were analyzed by ACP. Average risk adults who did not show any symptoms and who did not fall under the high risk category were focused by the analysis. On the basis of the analysis of the recommendations it was concluded that average risk adults between 50-75 years should do regular screening for colorectal cancer. Mc Lean said that the benefit of doing the screening before 50 years does not exceed its harms.

The American Cancer Society released their guidelines after the results of a study found that the deaths from rectal and colon cancer were on a rise in US who were below 55 years.

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