An updated American Cancer Society guideline announced today, Wednesday, May 30, 2018, says colorectal cancer screening should begin at age 45 (up from age 50) for people at average risk. This is based in part on data showing rates of colorectal cancer are increasing in young and middle-aged populations. Fight Colorectal Cancer (Fight CRC) has been following and supporting research efforts examining early-age colorectal cancer for many years.

Experts available for comment include (quotes also included below):

Fight CRC President, Anjee Davis, MPAA

Anjelica (“Anjee”) Davis serves as President of Fight Colorectal Cancer, a national nonprofit founded in 2005. Her experience spans from leading public health efforts and developing statewide colorectal cancer screening programs to managing a community oncology practice and overseeing its clinical trials program. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Southwest Missouri State University and a Master of Public Policy Administration from the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

Davis co-chairs the Awareness Task Force for the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable (NCCRT), and is a past member of the steering committee (2009-2012). She actively serves on Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) advisory panels and is a member of the Cancer Leadership Council, Research!America, One Voice Against Cancer (OVAC) and Alliance for a Stronger FDA.

Fight Colorectal Cancer commends the American Cancer Society's leadership announcing a significant change in the colorectal cancer screening guidelines for average-risk patients from 50 years of age to 45. As an advocacy organization, we have heard the urgency from our survivor community to lower the screening age. Recent studies have shown a rise in incidence rates for those under 50 years old, ACS's update is an important step forward. ACS represents one of several clinical guidelines for colorectal cancer screening. We still have a lot of work ahead of us to understand why this happening.  In the meantime, Fight CRC's advocacy efforts will focus on working with our partners to inform and educate policymakers, healthcare providers, and payers that coverage for screening needs to follow suit.”


Fight CRC Medical Advisory Board Member, Associate Professor Emeritus, Medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, Dennis Ahnen, M.D.

Dr. Ahnen completed his Medical School Training at Wayne State University in Detroit Michigan and completed a Medical Residency and Chief Residency at Hutzel Hospital in Detroit before going to the University of Colorado as a Fellow in Gastroenterology in 1977. After completing his Fellowship, he completed a Membrane Pathobiology Research Fellowship at Stanford University before returning to join the faculty of the University of Colorado School of Medicine in 1982 where he is currently a Professor of Medicine.

In 2014, he retired from his long-standing (32 years) faculty position at The Department of Veterans Affairs Eastern Colorado Health Care System and joined the staff of Gastroenterology of the Rockies. Dr. Ahnen is an active clinician and investigator. He is the Co-Director of the University of Colorado Hereditary Cancer Clinic and founded the GI Clinic at Gastroenterology of the Rockies; he provides consultative service to GI cancer families in both settings. His laboratory has conducted both basic and clinical investigations related to CRC prevention. Dr. Ahnen joined the National Colorectal Cancer Round Table (NCCRT) in 2009, has co-chaired the Family History Task Force since 2012 and joined the NCCRT Steering Committee in November of 2014. Dr. Ahnen is currently working to implement CRC prevention interventions that have been shown to be effective in clinical trials into a community-based practice of Gastroenterology.

“The American Cancer Society has made a fundamental change in their screening guidelines. It is the first organization that has recommended that average risk colorectal cancer (CRC) screening in the US should begin at age 45 rather than 50 for both men and women and for all races and ethnicities. The change is based on new predictive modeling studies that were done using updated estimates for the CRC risk in the young.  It is well established that the risk of CRC has been increasing dramatically in young adults (under age 50) over the last 15 years but the new ACS-commissioned analyses were the first to take race, gender, and this increased risk into account.”


Fight CRC Director of Health Promotion, Andrea (Andi) Dwyer

Andrea (Andi) Dwyer is a public health practitioner from the University of Colorado Cancer Center and Colorado School of Public Health. She joined Fight Colorectal Cancer in 2014 to develop a health education program that provides relevant and timely information to survivors, caregivers and families looking for reliable resources to guide them through a colorectal cancer diagnosis.

As the co-director of the Colorado Colorectal Screening Program, she is a leader in patient navigation and established one of the largest screening patient navigation programs in the country. Andi received her Bachelor of Science in Biology and Chemistry from Regis Jesuit University in Denver, Colorado and is a student within the Colorado School of Public Health. In addition to her role at Fight Colorectal Cancer, she serves as research program director working in the dissemination and implementation of science with a focus on cancer survivorship. She is on the Steering Committee with the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable, and Co-Chair of the Evidence-Based Education and Outreach Task Group and has served as a leader on the Colorado Cancer Coalition.

“The revision to the American Cancer Society guideline for the average risk population from 50 to 45 is a critical step to impact the increasing rate of colorectal cancer in the young (under age 50).  But this change in guideline will not answer the reason why so many young people are being diagnosed. We still have a lot of work to do.”