The American Cancer Society’s new colorectal cancer screening guidelines recommend that people at average risk start screening at age 45. That’s a drop of five years from the former guidelines, which recommended the first screening at age 50.
In lowering the age recommendation, the society cited rising numbers of colorectal cancer cases among younger Americans.
Screening should begin even earlier for people at higher risk of contracting colorectal cancer, the society says. Risk factors for earlier screening include:
- A family or personal history of colorectal cancer or certain types of polyps.
- A personal history of inflammatory bowel disease, such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease.
- A personal history of radiation directed at the abdomen or pelvic area to treat a prior cancer.