HealthDay News — Screening average-risk individuals for colorectal cancer should begin at age 50 with a stool-based test, flexible sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy, according to a guidance statement from the American College of Physicians (ACP).

“The goal of this best practice advice from the Clinical Guidelines Committee is to discuss the appropriate screening for colorectal cancer and to highlight how clinicians can contribute to delivering high-value, cost-conscious health care,” Amir Qaseem, MD, PhD, and colleagues from the Clinical Guidelines Committee of the ACP wrote in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

After reviewing existing U.S. guidelines for colorectal cancer screening, the committee issued four guidance statements to clarify ACP recommendations:

Continue Reading

  • Clinicians should perform individualized assessment colorectal cancer risk in all adults.
  • Starting at age 50, clinicians should screen average-risk adults for colorectal cancer; for high-risk adults, screening should begin at age 40, or 10 years younger than the age at which the youngest affected relative was diagnosed with colorectal cancer.
  • A stool-based test, flexible sigmoidoscopy or optical colonoscopy is recommended as a screening test for patients at average risk. For high-risk patients, optical colonoscopy is for screening. Screening tests should be selected based on the benefits and harms, availability and patient preferences.
  • Screening for colorectal cancer should be stopped in adults older than 75 years or those with a life expectancy of less than 10 years.

Qaseem A et al. Ann Intern Med. 2012;156(5):378-386.