Tuesday, December 11, 2018

American Cancer Society vs. U.S. advisory group

Agency and task force disagree on when people should start screening for colon cancer 

Whether U.S. adults should start colon cancer screening at age 45 or 50 is still in doubt.

The most recent guidelines from the American Cancer Society advocate the former, but an influential government advisory group, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, still believes the latter age is perfectly okay.

According to an Associated Press story by Mike Stobbe a while back, the cancer society admits its recommendation of the earlier age "could cause confusion for doctors and patients." 

Both groups, however, apparently recommend six other kinds of screening exams, "from inexpensive take-home stool tests performed every year to colonoscopies done every 10."
Dr. Rich Wender
The best test, the cancer society's Dr. Rich Wender is quoted as saying, "is the test that gets done. All of these tests are good tests, and the choice should be offered to patients."

Most colon cancer occurs, according to the story, "in adults 55 and older, and the good news is rates of cases and deaths have been falling for decades."

Colon cancer, combined with rectal cancer, is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States — the top cause being lung cancer.

Some 140,000 Americans were expected to be diagnosed with colon cancer this year, "and about 50,000 will die from it," Stobbe's piece reports.

Only "about two-thirds of people 50 and older have been following screening guidelines," the article notes, quoting Dr. Marcus Plescia of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials as saying that "it's hard enough to get people to do it at all."

But Dr. Andrew Wolf, lead author of the American Cancer Society study, reportedly said his agency had considered and rejected that reasoning.

More information about conflicting research and findings can be found in "Rollercoaster: How a man can survive his partner's breast cancer,"  a VitalityPress book that I, Woody Weingarten, aimed at caregivers

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