Turning 45? It’s time to get your colorectal cancer screening, according to an updated recommendation from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (The Task Force).
The Task Force, which consists of a volunteer panel of national experts in disease prevention and evidence-based medicine, recently adjusted its colon cancer screening recommendation to begin testing at age 45 rather than 50.
In the U.S., colorectal cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer deaths. The risk of developing colorectal cancer increases with age, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 90% of cases occur in people aged 45 or older.
“By moving the recommended age to begin regular colorectal cancer screenings from 50 to 45, we’ll be able to detect cancer and precancerous polyps earlier,” said Dr. Josette Gordon-Simet, chief medical officer at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska (BCBSNE). “Early detection will help increase treatment outcomes and help reduce health care costs associated with treating colorectal cancer.”
Cancer screenings save lives
Cancer screenings are one of the most important parts of routine health care. There are several different types of colorectal cancer screening tests that can be used to find polyps (an abnormal group of cells) or colorectal cancer:
The fecal occult blood test (FOBT) is a test that you can do from the comfort of your own home. The test looks for traces of blood in bowel samples analyzed at a pathology laboratory. If blood is found, further testing may be required.
A colonoscopy is the most common type of screening test. During the procedure, your doctor examines your colon by looking for any growths or abnormalities, and if any polyps are identified, your doctor will remove and biopsy them.
This test uses X-rays and computers to produce images of the entire colon, which are displayed on a computer screen for the doctor to analyze.
There is no single best test for any person, so it is important to consult with you doctor about which one is right for you.
Since colorectal cancer screenings are considered preventive, BCBSNE members’ colorectal cancer screenings are generally covered at 100% under their preventive benefits. Learn more about preventive care from BCBSNE at NebraskaBlue.com.
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