Colorectal screenings done for senior citizens are being urged by the American College of Physicians (ACP), in their latest report. They urge that early detection is very important.
They stress the need for millions of aged Americans to get tested, even if they have no symptoms or family history of the disease.
In a their statement earlier this week, the ACP recommends that adults between the ages of 50 and 75 get screened on a regular basis.
They can do this in one of three ways: a colonoscopy every 10 years; a fecal immunochemical test (FIT) or high sensitivity fecal blood test (gFOBT) every two years.
The third method is a flexible sigmoidoscopy every 10 years, plus FIT every two years.
Colorectal Screenings: Serious Statistics
Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women, and the third-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. This,according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Nevertheless, about one-third of adults skip suggested screenings that can prevent or help treat this deadly disease.
There are no dramatic difference in the effectiveness of the different types of recommended screenings based on the current data. Patients, starting from the age of 50 should talk with their doctor about what test strategy works best for them. The bottom line is — get tested.
Patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or a family history of colorectal cancer should definitely increase the number of screenings. The same goes for seniors older than 75.
Fear and inconvenience are some of the reasons why people don’t get tested. Most insurance plans and Medicare help pay for such diagnostic tests for people who are 50 and older.
American College of Physicians Guidance
The ACP’s guidance is based on a review of study data and screening guidelines from other organizations, including the American Cancer Society (ACS).
While colorectal cancer can happen at any age, more than 90 percent of new cases occur in adults 50 and older, the CDC reports. Some worrying signs of the disease include blood in the stool, unintentional weight loss and stomach pain or cramps that don’t go away.
Nevertheless, it is common for symptoms to go unnoticed, which is why early detection through screening is so important.
Almost all colorectal cancers begin as precancerous growths (or polyps) in the colon or rectum, according to the CDC. These polyps can be detected in screening tests and removed before it has a chance to grow into a cancer.