An influential physicians group Monday urged the millions of Americans who do not get screened for colorectal cancer to get tested, even if they have no symptoms or family history of the disease.
In a new statement issued Monday, the American College of Physicians (ACP) recommends that adults between the ages of 50 and 75 get screened on a regular basis in one of three ways: a colonoscopy every 10 years; a fecal immunochemical test (FIT) or high sensitivity guaiac-based fecal occult blood test (gFOBT) every two years; or a flexible sigmoidoscopy every 10 years, plus FIT every two years. The new screening guidance was published on Nov. 4 in Annals of Internal Medicine.
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 U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But about one-third of adults skip suggested screenings that can prevent or help treat the deadly disease.
There's no dramatic difference in the effectiveness of the different types of recommended screenings based on the current data, says ACP President Robert McLean, M.D. Patients of or approaching the age of 50 should talk with their doctor about what test strategy works best, weighing the costs, preferences, benefits and harms.