January 11, 2022 2 min read

In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over some of the basic elements and considerations to keep in mind from the recent changes in recommended colorectal cancer screening age. As we discussed, the USPSTF lowered the recommended age for such screenings from 50 to 45 during 2021 -- why was this done, and why is this form of screening so important? 

At Pinnacle Biolabs, we're proud to offer the second generation FIT at-home colorectal cancer screening test, plus numerous other products and resources for those who may be at-risk for colon cancer and are looking to be screened. Here are some answers to other basic questions you may have about this recent change, plus why this form of screening is vital for you.

Should the Recommended Screening Age Be Even Lower?

There are some who believe that screening ages for conditions like colorectal cancer and others should be even earlier. Particularly among some ethnic groups, who have shown risk levels that suggest this age should be lowered to 40. In the future, it's possible that these groups may need to take a screening test during their early forties rather than mid-forties.

For now, though, 45 is the recommended starting point, and the USPSTF will continue evaluating research on this matter moving forward. However, be aware that this is not a finalized process -- researchers are regularly reviewing the available data and suggesting adjustments to this screening age when appropriate.

It's important to keep in mind that the research has not reached an unequivocal conclusion; even if it had, the USPSTF is not obligated to follow through with making further changes to their set guidelines. That said, this is a promising area of ongoing study, and those in these age ranges should regularly check for updates.

What Do "Average" And "High" Risk Mean for Colon Cancer?

In many cases, whether or not you should be screened for colon cancer will depend on your risk level. When you hear terms like high or average risk for colon cancer, what do these actually mean? Basically, to be at average risk, people age 45 or older have:

  • No active symptoms of colon or rectal cancer
  • No family members who have been diagnosed with colorectal or rectal cancer -- including parents, siblings or children

If you have a family history of colon cancer, however, or if you have any active symptoms such as changes in bowel habits, blood in your stool or abdominal pain, you should be considered at high risk. In these cases, you should proceed along high-risk guidelines for colon cancer screening beginning at age 45.

For more on the recent changes to recommended colon cancer screening age, or to learn about any of our colon cancer screening kits or other home tests, speak to the staff at Pinnacle Biolabs today.