(HealthDay News) — Following publication of updated guidelines by the American Cancer Society recommending that the age for colorectal cancer (CRC) screening be lowered to 45 years, there was an increase in screening among those aged 45 to 49 years, according to a study published online Dec. 18 in Cancer.

Stacey A. Fedewa, Ph.D., from the American Cancer Society in Atlanta, and colleagues compared recent CRC screening patterns among adults aged 45 to 49 versus 50 to 59 years using data for 5,800 people from the 2018 National Health Interview Survey.

The researchers found that past-year CRC screening rates increased from 4.8 to 6.6 to 8.8 to 11.7 percent in quarter 1 (January to March; Q1), quarter 2 (April to June; Q2), quarter 3 (July to September; Q3), and quarter 4 (October to December; Q4) among those aged 45 to 49 years. In Q3 and Q4, the screening rates were 4.1 and 7.0 percent higher, respectively, than in Q1. In Q1 of 2018, an estimated 226,656 people aged 45 to 49 years reported past-year screening, compared with 592,351 in Q4. Among people in their 50s, there was no increase noted in past-year CRC screening. Changes in CRC screening rates were significantly larger for those aged 45 to 49 versus those aged 50 to 54 and 55 to 59 years.

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“The 2018 ACS guidelines and accompanying scientific and lay media attention may have raised provider and patient awareness of asymptomatic and symptomatic testing for CRC,” the authors write.

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