(HealthDay News) — Initiation of lower gastrointestinal endoscopy before 50 years of age is associated with a reduced risk for colorectal cancer (CRC) in women, according to a study published online May 5 in JAMA Oncology.

Wenjie Ma, M.D., Sc.D., from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and colleagues examined the association between endoscopy initiation at different ages and the risk for CRC among U.S. women. The analysis included 111,801 women (aged 26 to 46 years at enrollment) participating in the Nurses’ Health Study II (1991 through 2017).

The researchers found that, compared with no endoscopy, undergoing endoscopy was associated with a significantly lower risk for incident CRC for age at initiation younger than 45 years (hazard ratio [HR], 0.37), 45 to 49 years (HR, 0.43), 50 to 54 years (HR, 0.47), and 55 years and older (HR, 0.46).

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Through 60 years of age, the absolute reduction in the estimated cumulative incidence of CRC was 72 per 100,000 persons for initiation of endoscopy at 45 to 49 years of age versus 50 to 54 years of age.

Initiation of endoscopy at younger than 50 years of age was also associated with a reduced risk for CRC diagnosed before 55 years of age (younger than 45 years: HR, 0.45; 45 to 49 years: HR, 0.43) compared with no endoscopy.

“These findings support guidelines recommending initiation of colorectal cancer screening before 50 years of age among women,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical, and life sciences industries.

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