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New guidelines released Wednesday recommend most USA adults start colon cancer screening earlier, at age 45 instead of 50.

Cancer society officials acknowledge the shift to 45 could cause confusion for doctors and patients but felt strongly that they needed to act now.

"We have seen over the last 15 years a rise in incidents in people under age 50 with colorectal cancer and particularly in very young people".

"The rates of screening right now under the age of 50 are negligible".

Forty-seven-year-old Sandy Kyrkostas was one such patient who was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer that had spread to his liver.

"When they tell you and your wife when you have two young children, "get your life in order", that's a scary point", Kyrkostas said. Clinicians should discourage individuals over age 85 from continuing colorectal cancer screening.

After 12 rounds of chemotherapy and nine surgeries, Kyrkostas is now disease free. As a result, testing could be offered earlier or more often in groups of people at risk (risk-adapted screening).

O'Neil says Hoosiers have higher rates of colon cancer than the national average and are more likely to die from the disease. "That's something you specifically talk about with your doctor".

For colorectal cancer, the American Cancer Society didn't push one screening option over another but listed various options: High-sensitivity stool tests, created to detect blood in feces, which need to be administered every year; a DNA stool test, sold under the brand name Cologuard, every three years; a colonoscopy, every 10 years; or a virtual colonoscopy or flexible sigmoidoscopy, every five years.

Richard Hoffman, MD, MPH, director of the Division of General Internal Medicine for the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, pointed out another assumption baked into the guidelines - that patients will follow the ACS screening recommendations down to the letter and seek follow-up screens at the appropriate intervals. Rich Wender. "The best test is the test that gets done".

For now, the task force still strongly recommends people begin screening at age 50. It's not uncommon for groups to have slightly different guidelines although those for colon cancer have been about the same for decades.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, colon and rectal cancers are the second leading cause of deaths in the US for cancers that affect both men and women.

The updated guidelines come on the heels of what seems to be a rise in colorectal cancer among younger adults.

"That is the million-dollar question", LaPook said. Diet? Something in the environment?

"I'll keep going until there are no options left", she said.

"It is the only one of those tests that actually prevents cancer. That's just the theory".

For any adult, no matter how old, Chang said that paying attention to your body and bowel habits are important for tracking your overall health - and that alerting your doctor to any changes is key.

Rates of colon and rectal cancers are rising quickly among young people - from 1991 to 2014, rectal cancer rates for people between the ages of 20 and 49 doubled.

Based on their review and that simulation modeling, the researchers identified efficient strategies for screening starting at age 45.