Regular colorectal cancer screening begins in Germany at the age of 50. However, a US study now shows that patients would benefit from an earlier start of the check-ups.
According to a new study by Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), colorectal cancer screening in women before the age of 50 can significantly reduce the risk of cancer compared to women who do not have an endoscopic screening or only get tested at the age of 50. this in JAMA Oncology published results support the recommendations of American Cancer Society and the US Preventive Services Task Force for the past four years to start screening as early as age 45 to address the steady rise in colorectal cancer cases at a younger age.
Increasing incidences in the under 50s
“While the incidence of colorectal cancer in younger people has increased at an alarming rate in recent decades, screening has largely focused on people over 50,” says Dr. Andrew Chan, gastroenterologist and epidemiologist at MGH and lead author of the study. “Our work provides the first data showing that starting screening at a younger age can reduce individual colorectal cancer risk and cancer incidence in the population as a whole, demonstrating that earlier screening has significant benefits at both the individual and population levels impact.”
Even if the overall number of colorectal cancer cases has decreased, the incidence in people under 50 years old increased by 51% between 1974 and 2013, epidemiological data shows. In order to investigate the connection between the risk of colorectal cancer and endoscopies at different ages, the MGH has now carried out a comprehensive study in which 111,801 women from the Nurses’ Health Study II participated, a large cohort of nurses in 14 states.
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50% lower risk with early screening start
The researchers found that women who started endoscopy screening at age 45 had a 50-60% lower risk of colorectal cancer than women who did not undergo screening at all. In addition, they found that starting screening between the ages of 45 and 49 resulted in a significant reduction in actual cases of colorectal cancer diagnosed by age 60 compared to a strategy in which women Age 50 to 54 started screening. While the study focused on women, Chan believes the same benefits apply to men as well. However, further studies are required.
Chan notes the significant public health implications of his team’s research. “Any concerns that clinicians may have had about the effectiveness of colorectal cancer screening at a younger age will hopefully be allayed by these results,” he says. “Our data shows that we have a powerful tool to tackle the colon cancer epidemic in younger adults, and hopefully this will encourage physicians to talk about screening with their younger patients, which in turn will motivate them to engage.” to be examined.”
In Germany, regular colorectal cancer screening is only covered by health insurance from the age of 50. It remains to be seen whether these study results will also lead to an earlier start of colorectal cancer screening.
This article is based on a press release of Massachusetts General Hospital Boston. We have the original publication for you here and linked in the text.
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