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More people under age 50 now have access to colorectal cancer screening

Final recommendations released from the USPSTF will increase access to critical screening services for people ages 45-49

May 18, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Lisa Berry Edwards
Lisa.Edwards@preventcancer.org

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) today finalized their new recommendations for colorectal cancer screening, giving a “B” recommendation for screening people of average risk ages 45-49. Under the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies are required to fully cover any screening or early detection services rated an “A” or “B” by the USPSTF. As a result, this recommendation will increase access to colorectal cancer screening for those ages 45-49.

Previously, there was no recommendation for colorectal cancer screening for this age group, and insurance companies were not required to cover colorectal cancer screening services under age 50. The USPSTF maintains its “A” rating screening recommendation for those of average risk ages 50-75.

Why the change? Recent years have revealed an alarming trend of increased colorectal cancer cases in people younger than 50, known as “young-onset” colorectal cancer. Incidence rates of young-onset colorectal cancer cases have increased by 2% each year since 1990, and the median age of diagnosis dropped from 72 to 66.

In response to this trend, the American Cancer Society changed its guidelines in 2018 to recommend colorectal cancer screening for those at average risk to begin at 45 (down from 50).

“This final recommendation from the USPSTF is a game changer,” said Carolyn Aldigé, Founder and CEO of the Prevent Cancer Foundation. “We know that colorectal cancer is on the rise in people under 50, and we know far too many people who are getting their first colorectal cancer screening at 50 only to find out it’s too late. Opening up screening access for younger adults can stop cancer before it starts.”

In a video released in March 2021 in partnership with the Prevent Cancer Foundation, Representative Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) shared his personal experience with young-onset colorectal cancer in support of dropping the recommend screening age to 45.

“I feel very strongly about this as a colon cancer survivor. I know that early screening works and early screening is the key to surviving this cancer,” Raskin says in the video.

The Prevent Cancer Foundation celebrates the change in screening guidelines to lower the recommended colorectal cancer screening age to 45. This change will increase access to screening and will save lives.

For more information on young-onset colorectal cancer, visit Too Young For This Sh*t.

About the Prevent Cancer Foundation®

The Prevent Cancer Foundation® is celebrating 35 years as the only U.S. nonprofit organization focused solely on saving lives across all populations through cancer prevention and early detection. Through research, education, outreach and advocacy, we have helped countless people avoid a cancer diagnosis or detect their cancer early enough to be successfully treated.

The Foundation is rising to meet the challenge of reducing cancer deaths by 40% by 2035. To achieve this, we are committed to investing $20 million for innovative technologies to detect cancer early and advance multi-cancer screening, $10 million to expand cancer screening and vaccination access to medically underserved communities, and $10 million to educate the public about screening and vaccination options.

For more information, please visit www.preventcancer.org.

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