The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) is now recommending clinicians offer colorectal cancer (CRC) screenings beginning with patients aged 45 years. The USPSTF continues to recommend CRC (and colon cancer) screening in adults ages 50 to 75; patients 76 to 85 years of age should have the individual decision for screening; and screening is not necessary after age 85. These screenings are typically preformed with a colonoscopy by a gastroenterologist.
While specific CRC screening frequency recommendations may vary, the general rule is that adults aged 50 to 75 years at average risk should be screened, according to the following:
- The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP)
- American College of Physicians (ACP)
- American Cancer Society (ACS)
- The US Multi-Society Task Force, including the American College of Gastroenterology, American Gastroenterological Association, and American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy
In 2017, the USPSTF suggested Black adult patients should initiate screening at age 45, or at 40 if there is a family history for colorectal cancer. The following year, the ACS recommended that all adults begin screening for CRC at age 45, while the AAFP does not advise screening before the age of 50.
This year, “the American College of Gastroenterology suggested screening in average-risk persons aged 45 to 49 years (conditional recommendation) and recommended screening average-risk persons aged 50 to 75 years (strong recommendation). Generally, guidelines agree that screening should either be individualized in older adults aged 76 to 85 years (ACS, AAFP, and US Multi-Society Task Force) or stopped altogether (ACP), with clear consensus that screening should stop after age 85 years,” the report concluded.