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PRESS ROOM

ASGE Statement on USPSTF CRC Screening Recommendations


October 10, 2008


Age recommendations in the USPSTF report

The updated U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendations reaffirm ASGE’s position that colorectal cancer screening should begin at age 50 for those at average risk. The USPSTF report recommends a cutoff age of 76 for screening, based upon a computer model of patients who have had regular, consistently negative screening since age 50. The ASGE’s position is that the decision to cutoff screening at a particular age should be considered on an individualized basis between the patient and their physician. This decision should take into account the patient’s overall health status and prior history of screening. As the risk of colorectal cancer rises with age, screening beyond age 75 may be appropriate for many individuals. The USPSTF report reflects that position in its statement that after 75, “there may be considerations that support colorectal cancer screening in an individual patient.”

Recommended tests included in the USPSTF report

The ASGE supports colonoscopy as the gold standard for screening because it offers the advantage of allowing for detection and prevention through removal of polyps during the same procedure. The USPSTF concluded that there is insufficient evidence to assess the benefits and harms of computed tomographic colonography and fecal DNA testing as screening tests. The ASGE believes, however, that any screening for colorectal cancer is better than none. The ASGE encourages patients to speak to their doctor about the screening method that is best for them.

Colorectal Cancer Screening

The following comment can be attributed to 2008-2009 ASGE President John L. Petrini, MD, FASGE:

“Colorectal cancer is largely preventable and curable when diagnosed in its early stages. Screening saves lives. Unfortunately, far too few people undergo screening for colorectal cancer. Any advances that result in increased screening of the population are encouraging. It is important to talk to your doctor and discuss which screening method is best for you. Each screening option has appropriate applications and limitations.”