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New Colon Cancer Screening Recommendations

Recently, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force issued updated guidelines for colorectal cancer screening. These recommendations expand the field of people who should get screening and lowers the recommended age to 45, rather than 50.

The decision was made to update the screening guidelines due to a rise in colorectal cancer in younger adults. Colorectal cancer is most commonly found in older adults, so the longstanding recommendation had been that people ages 50-75 get screened. However, since the 2000s, there has been a noticeable increase in younger people developing the disease.

According to Dr. Lisa Boardman, a gastroenterologist at the Mayo Clinic, “What we’re seeing now is more people developing colorectal cancer under the age of 50. In fact, 10 percent of colorectal cancer cases now are going to occur in people who are under the age of 50.”

Colorectal cancer is the third leading cancer killer in the United States, and it affects men and women equally, claiming about 50,000 lives per year. Overall, screening tests have played a role in lowering the number of cases and deaths in recent years, and it is now recommended for all adults between the age of 45-75, regardless of whether the person has increased risks or not.

“We know that screening works in people age 50 and older. We’ve seen a reduction in colorectal cancer cases and deaths due to that condition. And now applying it to younger people, we hope to have a similar impact,” said Dr. Boardman.

So, 45 is now the new 50 when it comes to this important and life-saving cancer prevention screening intervention. How often one needs to be checked depends on the type of screening, and there are a variety of options, including yearly stool-based tests or colonoscopies (usually done every 10 years), but it is imperative to do so. In our nationwide FTCA medical malpractice work, we frequently encounter cases involving missed screening, and the consequences can be catastrophic.

For more than 30 years, our firm has handled cases involving failures to diagnose cancer and delays in diagnosing cancer. We have done this on both sides, too – plaintiff and defense. These cases are complex, and many lawyers shy away from them. The medicine can be complex and proving causation can be tough, but we relish the challenge of doing so.

If you think you have a failure to diagnose cancer case, we are happy to review it at no cost to you. We welcome referrals and have worked with lawyers across the country.


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