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Study confirms colorectal cancer screening should start at age 50
Date:9/2/2008

Bethesda, MD (Sept. 1, 2008) Colorectal adenomas, the precursor polyps in virtually all colorectal cancers, occur infrequently in younger adults, but the rate sharply increases after age 50. Additionally, African Americans have a higher rate of proximal, or right-sided, polyps, and may have a worse prognosis for survival if the polyps become cancerous. Therefore, the results of this study further emphasize the importance of colonoscopies, which view the entire colon, for the prevention of colorectal cancer beginning at age 50. The results of this study, which represents the largest investigation, by several-fold, of this kind, were published in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, the official journal of the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) Institute.

"While colorectal polyps are rare in adults aged 30 to 50, our study reveals an increase in polyp prevalence with age and a dramatic increase in colorectal adenoma incidence occurring in adults over the age of 50," said Francis M. Giardiello, MD, of The John Hopkins University and lead author of the study. "Understanding the natural occurrence of colorectal polyps, especially in younger adults, is important to the development of colorectal cancer prevention strategies."

Findings

Researchers found the prevalence of colorectal polyps in younger adults increased from 1.72 percent to 3.59 percent from age 30 to 50. This rate sharply increased after age 50 with the prevalence of polyps ranging from 10.1 to 12.06 percent in the sixth and ninth decade, respectively. The study results quantified the number of adenomas typically found in people under the age of 50. It is important to note that those with two or more adenomas under 50 years of age represent unusual individuals who might merit closer colonoscopic surveillance for subsequent adenoma development.

In younger adults, adenomas were more prevalent in Caucasians compared to African Americans; ho
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Contact: Aimee Frank
media@gastro.org
301-941-2620
American Gastroenterological Association
Source:Eurekalert

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