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Published on May 28, 2019

Gundersen continues to recommend colon cancer screenings start at age 50

While the American Cancer Society recently updated its colon cancer screening guidelines to begin at age 45 for patients at average risk, Gundersen Health System continues to recommend colon cancer screenings for patients at average risk start at age 50.

Like Gundersen, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, National Comprehensive Cancer Network, American Academy of Family Physicians and American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons recommend 50 years of age for beginning colorectal cancer screenings for average-risk individuals.

A special subcommittee of Gundersen's Cancer Advisory Council recently convened to discuss the new ACS guideline, which the ACS states was made, in part, due to results from an analysis by its researchers showing an increase in colorectal cancer among younger adults. Individuals from across Gundersen with expertise in gastroenterology, medical oncology, surgery, insurance, and billing and coding participated on the subcommittee that decided to continue current practice.

If additional evidence is published, or more national guidelines change that recommend lowering the screening age for colon cancer in average-risk individuals, Gundersen will re-evaluate its policy again. 

Your patients at average risk for colon cancer who have heard about the updated ACS guideline and request a screening colonoscopy before age 50 can still undergo the procedure, though it's important that they know they may be required to pay out-of-pocket.

For more information or to make a referral, contact MedLink at (800) 336-5465 or (608) 775-5465 in La Crosse.

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