The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) has recently updated its colon cancer screening guidelines. It now recommends that patients and doctors schedule colorectal cancer screenings at 45, not 50, which was the previous age recommendation.
According to members of the medical task force, a sharp increase in colon cancer diagnoses among people aged 45 to 49 prompted an investigation. It concluded that more than 10% of all colorectal cancer cases occur in people under 50. Logically, the USPSTF determined that screenings should be occurring at 45 if that means catching such a large percentage of cancer cases earlier.
Colon cancer is the third most-lethal form of cancer in the country, which makes accurate and early screenings for it all the more important. The American Cancer Society (ACS) first recommended that screenings start as young as 45 two years ago, too, citing similar concerns.
Insurance Coverage for Colon Cancer Tests
Now that the USPSTF has officially lowered the recommended age for colon cancer screenings, it is predicted that insurance companies will be pressured to follow suit. When the ACS made its recommendation, many people still opted to not get a screening or similar test because it would not be covered by insurance until they were 50. The age limit for coverage should drop, but it is not guaranteed.
Who is at Risk of Colon Cancer?
The medical task force’s evaluation has shown that people aged 45 or older are at an increased risk of colon cancer. But age appears not to be the only risk factor. Genetics seems to also increase a person’s chances of developing the disease.
Based on information gathered by the USPSTF, Black Americans are at the highest risk of colon cancer, with 43.6 cases per 100,000 people. The death rate among the same group was also the highest noted by the task force. Latinx Americans appear to be at the lowest risk of developing colon cancer.
There are also concerns that economic divisions could be notably playing into a person’s risk for colon cancer to go unnoticed in screenings. One John Hopkins School of Medicine professor has stated that doctors serving low-income regions often need to see more patients in a day, which gives them less time to perform careful screenings. The likelihood of missing the warning signs of colon cancer can go up as the doctor feels rushed to see the next patient.
(You can learn more about the Preventative Service Task Force and its new colon cancer screening recommendation by clicking here and viewing a full article from NBC.)
Lawsuits for Colon Cancer Misdiagnoses
With the USPSTF announcing that colon cancer screenings should start at 45 instead of 50, patients across the country within that age group should expect to get recommendations from their doctors soon about colon cancer tests. If a patient’s doctor never recommends a colon cancer screening despite them being 45 or older, and that patient is later diagnosed with colon cancer, then it could constitute cancer malpractice in the form of a misdiagnosis. To determine if a medical malpractice claim is valid, patients should speak with a local attorney for legal guidance and representation.
Simonson Goodman Platzer PC represents injured and ill patients who have experienced medical negligence in New York and New Jersey. If you think you have a colon cancer malpractice claim, call (800) 817-5029 to discuss the details with our team. Initial consultations are free.