As the number of colorectal cancer diagnoses in people under 50 continues to increase, our community is vigilantly looking at ways to combat this alarming trend. A new study, which looked at the accuracy and efficacy of the fecal occult blood tests (FIT), may be the key to getting this population screened.
Unlike a traditional colonoscopy, which can be expensive, requires dietary restrictions and must be done by a healthcare professional, a FIT can be done right in your own home. Even better, it requires no prep and is fairly inexpensive.
This recent study, "Extending Colorectal Cancer Screening to Persons Aged 40 to 49 Years With Immunochemical Fecal Occult Blood Test: A Prospective Cohort Study of 513,283 Individuals," followed more than 513,000 individuals who had FIT for 14 years; they found one in seven cases of colorectal cancer in people over 40 occurred in the 40 to 49 age group.
What does this mean for colorectal cancer screening in people aged 40 to 49? We’ve broken down the article into Top 5 Takeaways to give you the information you need to know:
Top 5 Takeaways
- Offering FIT to people 40 to 49 years old could identify higher-risk individuals earlier for follow-up colonoscopy, which, in turn, could reduce cancer mortality.
- Individuals 40 to 49 years old with positive FIT tests have a three times higher cancer risk than people 50 to 59 years old, or double the cancer risk than those 50 to 69 years old.
- Colorectal cancer incidence rates have been increasing approximately 2 percent per year for people under 50 since the 1990s.
- FIT tests tend to be "moderately sensitive, highly specific..." and quite accurate for colorectal cancer screening.
- The authors of this study felt recommending FIT screening in individuals 40 to 49 years old would have “substantial public health implications” by decreasing cancer deaths in the younger population.
Don’t forget, the Colon Cancer Alliance serves as a source of information and support. If you have additional questions about colon cancer or are in need of support, please contact our free Helpline at (877) 422-2030.