In a statement, the American College of Radiology (ACR) said it strongly supports the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF)’s recently released draft recommendation to lower the starting age for screening from 50 to 45. The ACR also encourages efforts to expand screening for at-risk populations, particularly Black individuals who are about 20% more likely to be diagnosed with colorectal cancer and 40% more likely to die from the disease.
Colorectal cancer is the third-leading cause of cancer death in Americans. However, unlike many cancers, it is nearly always treatable if caught early, and can even be prevented through timely screening. Virtual colonoscopy, known medically as CT colonography, is a highly accurate, safe, and minimally invasive test that is preferred by many who can’t or won’t get a colonoscopy and their healthcare providers. CT colonography is among the recommended screening options from both USPSTF and the American Cancer Society (ACS).
“We applaud the USPSTF for recommending that screening for colorectal cancer begin at age 45, as both we and the ACS have previously recommended,” says Judy Yee, MD, FACR, chair of the ACR Colon Cancer Committee. “We also continue to encourage Medicare to follow the science and make all validated colorectal cancer screenings, including less-invasive CT colonography, available to all patients. The best test is the one that gets done.”
The ACR will provide further input to the USPSTF during the public comment period ending November 23.