Screening for colorectal cancer should begin at age 45 instead of age 50, according to a panel that sets guidelines for preventive screening in the United States. US Preventive Medicine Committee May 18, 2021 Officially recommended to lower the recommended age This is because colorectal cancer in young adults has increased by almost 15% in about 15 years.
As a research scientist and advocate for people with colorectal cancer, I’m particularly excited about this change. In addition to 2020 federal law The cost of colonoscopy screening is completely covered According to Medicare, this development will probably save lives.
Colorectal cancer continues to be a major cause of cancer incidence and mortality worldwide.American Cancer Society Recently estimated In 2021, 149,500 new cases of colorectal cancer and 52,980 deaths are expected in the United States alone. As a result, the disease has the fourth highest incidence of cancer and the second highest mortality rate in the country. In the United States, only lung cancer kills cancer. In addition, African Americans are more likely to be diagnosed with the disease and die.
Still, colorectal cancer is one of the most preventable cancers. Over the last three decades, timely screening and removal of precancerous lesions called polyps has helped them before they progress to cancer. Sustained decline Incidence and mortality of colorectal cancer. So while progress is progressing, we have a way.
In 2000, President Bill Clinton Dedicated March as National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, it shows that “our most effective weapon for defeating colorectal cancer is early detection and treatment.” Each year, survivors, patients, healthcare providers, researchers, and supporters are conscious of collectively disseminating knowledge about colorectal cancer and its prevention to the general public and reducing the number of victims of this highly preventable disease. Promote action.
Worrying trends in young adults
For quite some time, national guidelines have recommended that screening for colorectal cancer begin at age 50, when the risk of the disease begins to increase significantly. However, in recent years, researchers and doctors have Colorectal cancer is on the rise Previously, screening was not recommended for people under the age of 50 unless major symptoms occurred.
Our people studying the disease do not fully understand the reasons behind this increase, but there is growing concern among doctors, researchers, and of course patients and their families. .. This concern led to a review of screening guidelines. In October 2020, the US Preventive Medicine Expert Committee conducted a comprehensive and detailed assessment.It Recommended for adults aged 45-49 Screen for colorectal cancer and align task force with content from the American Cancer Society Recommended for 2018..
This week’s panel decision will serve as an official update to the last recommendations made in 2016.
Adults aged 45-49 years, who are now increasingly vulnerable to colorectal cancer, are covered by insurance that covers full screening.
Get rid of surprise payments
The second development concerns the scope of Medicare for colonoscopy screening. Medicare must cover colorectal cancer screening at no cost, You will have to pay yourself If a polyp or other tissue is found and removed during colonoscopy. The rationale for this was that tissue removal was considered a diagnostic procedure rather than a screening.
This distinction surprised patients with unexpected out-of-pocket costs. Therefore, Medicare patients undergoing colonoscopy consider them to be fully covered, but are only confused by being charged a co-payment after the procedure has been performed.
It has been considered unacceptable by healthcare providers and public health advocates who consider removal of precancerous lesions to be an integral part of the screening process. Overall, this situation, known as the loophole in Medicare, Become a barrier Prophylactic colonoscopy in an elderly population at high risk for colorectal cancer.
After years of support and lobbying on the issue by organizations such as the Fight Colorectal Cancer and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the loophole was finally closed in December 2020, when Congress passed and President Trump signed. Remove barriers to 2020 colorectal cancer screening.. The law, which is part of the COVID-19 Economic Relief Bill, requires a joint insurance exemption associated with colorectal cancer screening tests, regardless of whether tissue was removed during the test. It will be phased in over the eight years starting in 2022.
The future of colorectal cancer screening
President BidenEncouraged in a March 1 proclamation that “all citizens, government agencies, private sectors, nonprofits and other groups should participate in activities to raise awareness and prevention of colorectal cancer.” New screening guidelines will help make that happen in the future.
Effective number Colorectal cancer screening options Approved under new guidelines. These include tests that look for the presence of blood or specific DNA biomarkers in fecal samples, and visualization tests that directly examine the lining of the colon to allow removal of tumors or precancerous lesions.
New technologies are emerging that make screening easier and more effective. For example Liquid biopsy Includes analysis of readily available body fluids such as blood and urine.Physicians may soon be able to separate and analyze Cell or DNA It is derived from a tumor and is present in the bloodstream.
Also, Molecules in urine It may be potentially important as a biomarker for detecting colorectal lesions.
The usefulness of such techniques is still under investigation, but it is clear that in the near future we need to witness the emergence of simpler, more accessible, and more sensitive tests for colorectal cancer. However, it is important to note that colonoscopy should be performed after these non-invasive tests if concerns are raised.
People of all ages need to be aware of the risk factors for colorectal cancer, the symptoms that may indicate the disease, and strategies and guidelines for screening and prevention. Talk to your doctor and insurance company about colorectal cancer and its prevention. Also, make sure you are aware of recent changes in screening guidelines. The more you know, the better.
Editor’s Note: This is an updated version of the article first published on March 22, 2021.
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