RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) – The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, issued a recommendation Tuesday that all Americans, and especially Black Americans, be screened for colon cancer beginning at age 45. Currently, the recommended age is 50.
10 On Your Side spoke with Task Force chair and member of the Cancer Prevention and Control research program at VCU, Dr. Alex Krist. He said doctors have been seeing an increase in the prevalence of colon cancer in younger people and this change would save more lives.
“I’ll tell ya that 80% of colon cancers occur in people with no signs or symptoms and without any risk factors and that’s why we recommend that all adults age 45-75 get screened for colon cancer,” said Dr. Krist.
He said they are not sure why colon cancer is increasing in younger people, but there are a number of factors associated with a greater risk including; being overweight, drinking alcohol and a diet heavy in meat. He added that Black people are more likely to get colon cancer and to die from it.
It could be six months to a year before the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force presents its recommendation as a final draft. It is currently a draft and open to public comment through November 23, 2020. Insurance may not cover the screenings yet.
Opportunity for public comment on the recommendation
While the colonoscopy is the most talked-about screening, Dr. Krist says there are options that are just as effective, less invasive, and less expensive. He recommends you talk to your doctor about what’s best for you.
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