U.S. advisory group says there’s not enough evidence to endorse one screening method over another
THURSDAY, June 16, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Reiterating a recommendation last made in 2008, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) is advocating that regular colorectal cancer (CRC) screening begin at age 50 and continue until at least age 75. The updated recommendation was published online June 15 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
In drafting its updated CRC screening guidelines, the USPSTF reviewed data on several screening strategies. Besides colonoscopy, these included flexible sigmoidoscopy; computed tomography colonography; traditional fecal occult blood tests; and the recently approved Cologuard DNA-based stool test. The panel said there were no comparison studies that suggested that any of the screening methods were any more effective than others. There are varying amounts of proof supporting the effectiveness of each, and each method has its advantages and limitations, the panelists said.
All of the recommendations are specific to symptom-free people 50 years of age or older with an average CRC risk, the panel stressed. Individuals with disorders or medical histories that increase CRC risk may need more rigorous screening, the USPSTF said.
In its statement, the panel said that “for some adults ages 76 to 85, the benefits of screening are smaller, and the potential for harm greater. However, some people in this age group may benefit, especially if they have never been screened before and are healthy enough to undergo treatment if cancer is found.” For this older group, the USPSTF recommends that decisions on screening be made during consultations between the patient and their doctor.
One Task Force member disclosed financial ties to Roche/Genentech.
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