5 FAM HEALTH F A M I L Y H E A L T H Get Colon Checked Sooner, New Guidelines Say https://www.cnn.com/2018/05/30/health/colon-rectal-cancer-screening-guidelines-study/index.html https://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/Page/Document/RecommendationStatementFinal/colorectal-cancer-screening2 If you're in your mid-40s and haven't had your colon checked, it might be time. The American Cancer Society's newly updated guidelines for colon and rectal cancer screening recommend that adults at average risk get screened starting at age 45 instead of 50, as previously advised. The updated guidelines come on the heels of what seems to be a rise in colorectal cancer among younger adults. Colorectal cancer, which includes both colon and rectal cancers, is the third most common cause of cancer-related deaths in the world, according to the World Health Organization. In the United States, colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths among cancers that affect both men and women, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some studies suggest that the rates of colorectal cancer deaths are climbing among American adults younger than 55. After declining overall from 1970 to 2004, colon and rectal cancer mortality rates among 20- to 54-year- olds in the United States increased by 1% annually from 2004 to 2014, according to a study published last year in the medical journal JAMA. “Behind these numbers are real people and real faces, and all of us in the colorectal cancer world and all the gastroenterologists and all the oncologists have been seeing more and more young people who develop this disease,” said Dr. Richard Wender, chief cancer control officer at the American Cancer Society, who oversaw the development of the new guidelines. “In people born more recently, they’re at four times the risk for rectal cancer than people born in the ’50s (at the same age), for example, and double the risk of colon cancer,” he said. “It’s what we call a birth cohort effect. Nobody knows why really clearly, and that's a big area of interest, but nobody’s questioning that it’s happening.” Note: The U.S. Preventative Service Task Force recommends people who have no identified risk factors (other than age) to begin regular screening at age 50. Those who have a family history of colorectal cancer or other risk factors for colorectal polyps or cancer should talk with a health care provider about starting screening when they are younger and/or getting screened more often. Disclaimer: As of June 2018, TRICARE including USFHP does not yet cover routine screening colonoscopies under the age of 50.