ICYMI: Colorectal Screening begins at age 45

By Paige Langenderfer, CRH Contributor


Did you know colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States?


Colorectal cancer starts in the colon or the rectum, and can also be called colon cancer or rectal cancer, depending on where it starts. The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be more than 150,000 new cases of colon and rectal cancer combined in 2023. Overall, the lifetime risk of developing colorectal cancer is about 1 in 23 for men and 1 in 26 for women.


The good news is that colorectal cancer can often be avoided when detected in the early stages. A screening colonoscopy is the best way to prevent and detect colorectal cancer in its early stages when it is most treatable. In 2021, The American Cancer Society updated their recommendations for colorectal screening with colonoscopy, stating that individuals at average risk should begin screening at age 45. Prior to 2021, the recommended age was 50.


“The American Cancer Society noticed increasing rates of colorectal cancer in younger adults, and recommended a shift to begin screening at 45 years,” said CRH Gastroenterologist Dr. Patrick Barrett, MD. Barrett_Patrick_2015

ACS experts determined that screening starting at 45 could help save lives by discovering cancer in its earliest stages in younger adults. People at higher risk for colorectal cancer may need to start screening before age 45. Dr. Barrett said that the colonoscopy is the most comprehensive test, as it can detect early cancer and polyps can be removed at the time of testing.


“Generally the best testing occurs in asymptomatic individuals and we find polyps or early cancers before they cause a problem,” said Dr. Barrett.


“All patients should have an informed conversation about good preventive care for a host of different diseases and cancers and individualize that treatment to their own person and family history as well as their own personal preference about invasive screening tests like colonoscopy.  Many options exist, and all can help people live longer and better.” 


The message is simple. A preventative screening could save your life.


Help us significantly reduce the number of colorectal cancer-related deaths by encouraging your friends and family 45 and older to schedule a colonoscopy. Ready to schedule your screening? Visit www.crh.org/45.


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