Colorectal cancer screening important to reverse disturbing trend

Dr. Bradford Gray

If you’ve been paying attention over the last few years, you’ve probably heard that 45 is the new 50 when it comes to colorectal cancer screening. While a vital message, understanding why is equally important – making campaigns like Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month crucial to reversing a disturbing trend.

With an estimated 153,000 new cases in 2023, colorectal cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in the United States, and with nearly 53,000 deaths, it’s also a leading cause of cancer-related deaths. While overall cases have steadily declined over the years – thanks in large part to routine screening – the number of people under the age of 50 who are being diagnosed with, and dying from the disease, is rising at an alarming rate. That is why in 2021, health officials lowered the recommended screening age to 45.

Dr. Bradford Gray

Colorectal cancer

Colorectal cancer occurs in the final portion of the digestive system, either in the large intestine (AKA colon), or the rectum. Typically, it develops from the growth of abnormal cells, which then form a tumor. If left untreated, it can spread to other organs of the body. Unfortunately, colorectal cancer often remains undetected until it has progressed to an advanced stage, at which time it is more difficult to treat.

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