On October 5, 2015, the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force released draft recommendations for colorectal cancer screening guidelines and opened them for public comment. Below is our response.
The Colon Cancer Coalition believes the best screening test for colorectal cancer is the one that gets done. Our focus continues to be individual health advocacy; encouraging the appropriate screening for all persons over 50-years-old, those with a family history, and anyone experiencing colorectal cancer symptoms; and raising awareness of this preventable disease.
As an organization that works with and represents many young on-set colorectal cancer patients and caregivers, we are concerned about the apparent increase in colorectal cancer in young adults. This subset was seemingly ignored in the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force’s recommendations. We strongly encourage the USPSTF to continue to monitor the increase in young on-set patients and adjust guidelines as additional research warrants.
We want primary care and other physicians to recognize colorectal cancer can happen at any age. Health care providers and insurers should provide access to anyone seeking screening, looking beyond any pre-perceived ideas of what a colon cancer patient looks like.
Access to colorectal cancer screening, including a colonoscopy and other available tests, should be available to all people who present with colorectal cancer symptoms, regardless of the year they were born. All persons should understand the signs, symptoms and risk factors associated with the disease.
With so many effective screening options available, we look forward to more awareness and education efforts working towards the 80% screening rate by 2018 goal.