Changes to Colorectal Cancer Screening Recommendations

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has recently changed its recommendations on colorectal cancer screening.  The change applies to people over 75 years of age.

The new recommendation reads: “The USPSTF recommends screening for colorectal cancer (CRC) using fecal occult blood testing, sigmoidoscopy, or colonoscopy, in adults, beginning at age 50 years and continuing until age 75 years. The risks and benefits of these screening methods vary.”

About people from 75 to 85 years old, it reads: “The USPSTF recommends against routine screening for colorectal cancer in adults age 76 to 85 years. There may be considerations that support colorectal cancer screening in an individual patient.”

About people over 85 years old, it reads: “The USPSTF recommends against screening for colorectal cancer in adults older than age 85 years.”

The Bottom Line:

If you are between the ages of 50 and 75, you should be screened for colorectal cancer with a fecal occult blood test or colonoscopy (I don’t say sigmoidoscopy because it is the only recommended method that does not check the entire colon and rectum).

If you are between the ages of 75 and 85, in most cases colorectal cancer screening is not recommended, but there may be exceptions.

If you are over the age of 85, colorectal cancer screening is not recommended.

Please see my blog posting comparing fecal occult blood testing to colonoscopy.

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