May 18, 2021 – The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) released a final Recommendation, Evidence Summary, and Modeling Study on screening for colorectal cancer. The primary difference from the previous 2016 recommendation is that average risk adults are now recommended to start screening at age 45, in alignment with the American Cancer Society’s 2018 recommendation.
The recommendation to begin screening at age 45 follows a growing body of research indicating a rising incidence of colorectal cancer in young adults as incidence declines in older age groups. The median age of diagnosis has dropped from age 72 in 2001-2002 to age 66 during 2015-2016. Half of all new diagnoses are in people 66 or younger.
Although some health plans have already begun to cover colorectal cancer screening beginning at age 45 following the ACS’s 2018 recommendation, under the Affordable Care Act, coverage of screening by most commercial plans beginning at age 45 will now be mandated by law.