Colorectal Cancer Screenings Should Start at 45 (Not 50), Cancer Society Says

May 30, 2018

© Jonathan Weiss |

You'll need to be screened for colon and rectal cancers earlier than before, according to an updated recommendation from the American Cancer Society.

The American Cancer Society (ACS) announced on Wednesday that most people should start screening tests for colon and rectal cancers at the age of 45. The organization had previously recommended that testing begin at the age of 50.

Dreading that unpleasant colonoscopy? It's OK because there is some good news. 

The initial tests do not necessarily have to involve a colonoscopy, according to the guidelines. ACS says it could be a much less invasive procedure like a visual exam or an at-home stool test.

"People born in the '80s and '90s are at higher risk of developing colon cancer, particularly rectal cancer, than people born when I was born back in the '50s," the society's chief cancer control officer, Dr. Richard Wender, said. 

Treatment for these types of cancers is most effective when the disease is caught early. 

You can view more of the updated guidelines on the American Cancer Society's website by clicking here.