JACKSON, Miss. – Earlier this year, the American Cancer Society (ACS) issued new screening guidelines, making a qualified recommendation that routine colon cancer screening begin at age 45 years (instead of the previous age of 50). While the incidence of colorectal cancer has declined steadily over the past 2 decades in people aged 55 and older, there has been a 51% increase in colon and rectal cancers among those under age 50 since 1994. Some people are at higher risk and should be screened earlier, including personal or family history of inflammatory bowel disease, colorectal cancer or polyps, or ovarian, endometrial or breast cancer.
Because the recommendation for earlier screening is new, many insurance providers have not changed their coverage policies to include screening procedures for patients 45 – 49 who do not have a family history of polyps or CRC. Before scheduling a screening procedure, be sure to check with your insurance provider for the details of your coverage.