Fortunately, colorectal cancer develops slowly, typically over a period of 10 to 20 years. In many cases, screening tests can detect and prevent it before it develops into cancer. A screening test is a test performed as a preventive measure to detect a disease in someone before they begin to develop any signs or symptoms.
Adults at average risk of developing colorectal cancer should begin screening at age 50.
African Americans have higher risk of colon and rectal cancer and should begin screening at age 45.
Individuals with a family history of colorectal cancer must also start screening earlier.
UCLA Health strongly recommends that adults at average risk of developing colorectal cancer begin screening at age 50. Screening starting at age 50 is also supported by several professional medical societies, including the United States Preventative Service Task Force (USPSTF).
The American College of Gastroenterology (ACG), American Gastroenterological Association (AGA), and American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) all suggest that African Americans begin screening at age 45 given higher rates of colorectal cancer and deaths in this group.
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