American Cancer Society Updates Colon Cancer Screening Recommendations

iImage credit: Chinnapong /

Colorectal Cancer is the fourth most common non-skin cancer in the United States and the second leading cause of death due to cancer. Generally colorectal cancer most impacts those over age 50, but recent studies have revealed that the number of cases in young people has increased 51 percent since 1994. Andrew Wolf, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Virginia says, “We don’t know why it’s going on, but it’s increasingly clear that it is happening.” Most of the nation’s 140,000 annual cases and 50,000 deaths from colon and rectal cancer still occur among people over age 55, but the share of cases involving younger adults is concerning.

Some researchers believe the consistent rise in colon cancer in younger Americans is the result of poor diet and obesity. Whatever the cause, the result of recent studies has led the American Cancer Society to reevaluate its long-standing guidelines on colon cancer screening.  While the overall costs and benefits of earlier screening remain a topic of debate within the cancer care community, the message that early screening is important rings true. David Weinberg, chairman of medicine at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia says, “The bottom line is that if you regularly participate in colon cancer screening, you have a reduced risk of getting and dying from colon cancer.”

The American Cancer Society (ACS) is now recommending that all adults at average or low risk get screened for the disease at the age of 45, instead of 50 as it previously recommended. Those in good health, at average risk, and who have a life expectancy of more than 10 years should continue screening through the age of 75. Men and women at high risk, such as patients with a family history of colorectal cancer, may require a more aggressive screening program.

A colonoscopy has long been the most common form of testing a patient for colorectal cancer but is a procedure that many avoid or delay. New prescreening solutions are now available which can alleviate the discomfort of the pretest requirements. Several other tests are available by prescription, including stool tests that can be administered at home, eliminating the time spent in a clinic or hospital and the risk of bowel perforation and complications from anesthesia.

The professional staff and Oncologists at Gettysburg Cancer Center (GCC) understand the importance of prevention as well as treatment of cancer. With Medical Oncology, Radiation Oncology, Diagnostic Imaging and an onsite laboratory and pharmacy, GCC offers comprehensive screening and treatment options.

breast cancer awareness ribbon

Most Common Forms Of Cancer

As a group of diseases that can occur anywhere in the body and display a variety of symptoms, cancer affects 15,000,000 Americans each year and poses different potentials for severity, spreadability, treatment, survival, and recovery. While anyone has a 38 percent chance of developing some kind of cancer in their lifetime, certain types of the condition are more common to certain types of people.

Depending on factors like gender, race, and age, chances are higher for specific people in the population to develop particular conditions like lung cancer, brain tumors and gender-specific cancers like breast or prostate cancer. Here are the most common types of cancer in America.

Most Common Cancers for Males

While ethnic and racial differences have an impact on the most common cancer types for men, these conditions occur most frequently in men as a whole:

  • Prostate cancer: Occurring in the walnut-sized gland present only in men, prostate cancer is the leading cancer in all males, with nearly three million cases each year.
  • Lung cancer: Most frequently caused by smoking, lung cancer is the second most common cancer in men.
  • Colorectal cancer: Encompassing colon cancer and rectal cancer, colorectal cancer is the third leading cancer occurring in men.
  • Bladder cancer: More frequently occurring in older patients, bladder cancer is the fourth most common cancer for white men.
  • Mouth and throat cancer: Making up two of the many types of oral cancer, mouth and throat cancer is the fourth most common cancers in black men.
  • Stomach cancer: Stomach cancer is the fourth most common type of cancer for Asian and Pacific Islander men.

Most Common Cancers for Females

For women, the most common forms of cancer occur mostly in the same order of prevalence across races and ethnicities. They are as follows:

  • Breast cancer: Serious but often survivable, breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer for all women across the United States.
  • Lung cancer: For white women, lung cancer is the second most common form of cancer, while it falls third for black and Asian/Pacific women.
  • Colorectal cancer: As the third most common cancer type for white women and the second most common for Asian/Pacific and black women, colorectal cancer is a serious, widespread form of cancer for all women.
  • Uterine cancer: Not including cervical cancer in its categorization, cancer of the uterus is the fourth most common cancer among all women.

Most Common Cancers for Children

Gender is less important in differentiating types of common cancers when it comes to children. Instead, their young age makes them more likely to develop:

  • Leukemia: This cancer of the bone marrow is the most prevalent cancer occurring in children.
  • Brain tumors: Unfortunately, children are much more likely to develop brain tumors than adults.
  • Lymphoma: This cancer of the lymphatic system is the third most common cancer in children.

You’re in Good Hands at Gettysburg Cancer Center

Specializing in compassionate, expert care and services from diagnosis through treatment and follow-up care, Gettysburg Cancer Center is the most reliable place to turn for any kind of cancer. Contact us for an appointment or more information today.