Georgetown physician against lowering CRC screening age — Here's why

Washington, D.C.-based Georgetown University Medical Center family physician Kenny Lin, MD, argued the American Cancer Society's updated colorectal cancer guideline recommending people undergo screening at 45 is premature in an article on Medscape.

Here's what you should know:

1. Dr. Lin believes the ACS' guideline is "premature at best, and at worst will cause more harm than good."

2. The guideline was heavily based on an U.S. Preventive Services Task Force's microsimulation modeling study. The study claims by starting screening at age 45, two deaths could be prevented for every 800 additional colonoscopies performed.

Dr. Lin takes issue with the projection because of a lack of clinical trials in adults younger than 50. He said, "We don't have real-life data to back up these models' projections of benefit."

3. He believes screening for CRC five years earlier could increase post-colonoscopy complications. Although current complications rates are low, by adding millions of eligible adults, they could increase.

4. He said, "In my mind, more studies are needed to establish the benefits of the ACS's recommendation for earlier screening to be sure [that] they outweigh these harms."

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