May 30, 2018 / 5:27 PM / 5 months ago

American Cancer Society recommends earlier colorectal cancer screening

May 30 (Reuters) - The American Cancer Society is recommending that people at average risk of colorectal cancer start regular screening at age 45 rather than at 50, at a time when studies show a rise in cases of the disease among younger individuals.

The new ACS guideline here also recommends people, who are in good health and with a life expectancy of more than 10 years, should continue regular colorectal cancer screening through the age of 75.

The guideline suggests screening either through a high sensitivity stool-based test or visual examination such as colonoscopy.

Shares of diagnostic company Exact Sciences Corp, which makes Cologuard that helps detect colorectal cancer, jumped more than 10 percent after the guideline was revealed.

“While we commend the ACS for its forward thinking ... we do not believe this will necessarily be a big driver of Cologuard volume upside for Exact Sciences in the near term,” William Blair analyst Brian Weinstein said.

The move comes as a recent stud here showed that there has been a marked increase in colorectal cancer incidence, particularly rectal cancer, among younger individuals.

Colorectal cancer is the third-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in men and women in the United States and is expected to cause about 50,630 deaths during 2018, according to ACS.

The most common screening method is a colonoscopy exam that snakes a tiny camera through the rectum to view the colon to search for abnormal tissue growth.

An alternative is fecal occult blood testing, which looks for blood — a possible sign of cancer — in stool samples. (Reporting by Ankur Banerjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

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