People should do colon cancer screening every 10 years from age 45 or 40

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Scientists from Stanford University found that starting colonoscopy every 10 years (Colo10) at age 45 years or an annual fecal immunochemical test (FIT) at 40 years is cost-effective for all people.

A doctor may suggest a colonoscopy if you have bowel problems or symptoms, or if you have done a bowel cancer screening test (‘poo test’) that has returned a positive result.

It may also be recommended because of your previous colonoscopy results or family history.

The fecal immunochemical test (FIT) is a screening test for colon cancer. It tests for hidden blood in the stool, which can be an early sign of cancer.

In the study, researchers compared colorectal cancer screening starting at age 45 or 40 versus 50 years and/or shortening screening intervals among women and men with a body mass index (BMI) ranging from normal to grade III obesity.

Screening strategies included Colo10, colonoscopy every five years (Colo5), or annual FIT.

The researchers found that sex-specific total CRC deaths were similar for persons with overweight and obesity I to III without screening, reflecting the counterbalance of increased CRC risk by lower life expectancy with increasing BMI.

Colo10 starting at 45 years or FIT starting at 40 years were cost-effective at a threshold of $100,000/quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) gained for all BMI/sex groups.

Among men with obesity II and III only, Colo10 starting at 40 years was cost-effective at $93,300 and $80,400/QALY gained, respectively.

The preference was always for shifting Colo10 to an earlier starting age rather than Colo5 starting at later ages. In a sensitivity analysis, the results were robust.

The team says these findings have implications for CRC screening in obese people specifically, as well as generalizable lessons for CRC screening tailored to risk.

If you care about Colon health, please read studies about whether aspirin could lower colon cancer risk in older people, and this drug may lower death risk in colon cancer.

For more information about colon health, please see recent studies about how to protect yourself from colon cancer, and results showing this vitamin level in the body is linked to colon cancer risk.

The research was published in Clinical Gastroenterology & Hepatology and conducted by Aaron Yeoh et al.

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