SOURCE: American College of Physicians

American College of Physicians

March 08, 2012 13:35 ET

American College of Physicians Releases New Colorectal Cancer Screening Guidance Statement

PHILADELPHIA, PA--(Marketwire - Mar 8, 2012) - The American College of Physicians (ACP) today issued a new guidance statement for colorectal cancer screening. Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths for men and women in the United States. The guidance statement and a patient summary appear in the March 6 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine, published by ACP.

ACP developed this guidance statement to present information to physicians and patients to increase their understanding of the benefits and harms of colorectal cancer screening.

ACP recommends that physicians perform an individualized assessment of risk for colorectal cancer in all adults. Physicians should screen for colorectal cancer in average risk adults starting at the age of 50 and in high risk adults starting at the age of 40 or 10 years younger than the age at which the youngest affected relative was diagnosed with colorectal cancer.

Risk factors for colorectal cancer include increasing age; race -- African Americans have the highest incidence and mortality rates for colorectal cancer in the United States; personal history of polyps, inflammatory bowel disease, or colorectal cancer; or having a family history of the disease.

Options for screening for colorectal cancer include stool based and endoscopic/radiologic tests. The screening interval for average risk adults over the age of 50 is 10 years for colonoscopy; five years for flexible sigmoidoscopy, virtual colonoscopy, and double contrast barium enema; and annually for fecal occult blood test.

The guidance statement does not recommend continued screening for colorectal cancer in adults over the age of 75 or in adults with a life expectancy of less than 10 years because the potential harms of screening outweigh the potential benefits.

While colonoscopy is generally regarded as the gold standard to which other screening tests are compared, the risk factors of the test include possible bleeding, perforation of the intestine, and adverse reactions as a result of preparation required for the test.

About the American College of Physicians The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization and the second-largest physician group in the United States. ACP members include 132,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internists specialize in the prevention, detection, and treatment of illness in adults. Follow ACP on Twitter and Facebook.

Contact Information

  • American College of Physicians
    Angela Collom
    215.351.2653
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