Americans urged to get colon cancer screening earlier

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Americans should start getting screened for colon cancer earlier — at age 45 instead of waiting until they’re 50, according to new guidelines released Tuesday.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force said it’s time for the change because colorectal cancer increasingly is appearing in younger adults.

Colorectal cancer is one of the nation’s leading cancer killers, claiming about 50,000 lives a year. Overall, cases and deaths have inched down in recent years, thanks in part to screening tests that can spot tumors early — or even prevent them by removing precancerous growths.

Colorectal cancer is most common in older adults and the task force has long recommended that people ages 50 to 75 get screened. But the rate of new cases before age 50 has been rising since the early 2000s.

So the new guidelines say adults at average risk of colorectal cancer should be screened from ages 45 to 75.

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