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CRC News: May 18, 2021

CRC News: May 18, 2021

2021 USPSTF Colorectal Cancer Screening Recommendation Lowers Screening Age from 50 to 45

Today the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) released a final Recommendation, Evidence Summary, and Modeling Study on screening for colorectal cancer. The primary difference from the previous 2016 recommendation is that average risk adults are now recommended to start screening at age 45, in alignment with the American Cancer Society’s 2018 recommendation.

The recommendation to begin screening at age 45 follows a growing body of research indicating a rising incidence of colorectal cancer in young adults as incidence declines in older age groups. The median age of diagnosis has dropped from age 72 in 2001-2002 to age 66 during 2015-2016. Half of all new diagnoses are in people 66 or younger.

Although some health plans have already begun to cover colorectal cancer screening beginning at age 45 following the ACS’s 2018 recommendation, under the Affordable Care Act, coverage of screening by most commercial plans beginning at age 45 will now be mandated by law. Learn more in this American Cancer Society press release featuring responses from Bob Smith, PHD, Senior Vice President, Cancer Screening; American Cancer Society, and NCCRT co-chair.

Join NCCRT’s next webinar, 2021 USPSTF Colorectal Cancer Screening Recommendation Lowers Screening Age from 50 to 45: Implications for NCCRT partners, on Monday, June 7 from 12:00-1:00 PM ET to hear a panel of expert speakers discuss:

  • What changed in the new recommendation? And what data informed the decision to lower the screening age to 45?
  • How does the new recommendation impact insurance coverage and what is the timeline?
  • When will the new guideline be reflected in colorectal cancer screening quality measures (UDS, HEDIS) and national screening rate indicators (BRFSS, NHIS)?
  • The experiences of one state (Indiana) that began implementing screening at age 45 statewide following legislation to lower the screening age in 2019.


  • Robert Smith, PHD; Senior Vice President, Cancer Screening; American Cancer Society
  • Anna Schwamlein Howard; Principal, Policy Development, Access to and Quality of Care; American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
  • Stacey Fedewa, PhD; Scientific Director, Screening and Risk Factors Surveillance; American Cancer Society
  • Bryan Hannon; Regional Government Relations Director; American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network

Register Now: American Cancer Society National Consortium Hosts a Timely Issue Hub on Accelerating What We Know Works in Cancer Screening and Care

Date: Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Time: 2:30 to 4:00 PM ET

Register Here

In 2020, the American Cancer Society (ACS) launched an enterprise-wide initiative to assist public health agencies, health care providers, and screening advocates across the nation in the promotion and delivery of cancer screening and care appropriately, safely, and equitably during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As part of that initiative, a national consortium of leading organizations and scientific advisors has been convened to accelerate, strengthen, and mobilize around sensible, but bold, cancer screening and care activities.

The ACS National Consortium will host its first Issue Hub on June 1 from 2:30 to 4:00 PM ET to explore key areas of alignment in the implementation of evidence-based and emerging cancer control activities. While new challenges have arisen in the wake of the pandemic, many of the solutions that improve access to quality cancer screening and care are already known. To that end, as the cancer control community unites in our response to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to:

  • Identify and prioritize those proven interventions that increase cancer screening rates,
  • Accelerate the adoption of these interventions nationwide, and
  • Explore where the pandemic has necessitated innovation and expanded our capacity in cancer screening activities.


We Highlight Successes, Leaders, Best Practices, And Tools That Are Making An Impact In The Nationwide Movement To Reach 80% Screened For Colorectal Cancer.

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Opinions expressed in these blog posts are that of the author and do not represent policies of the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable or the author’s institution.

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