The biggest threat to gastroenterology

In 2021, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force began recommending colorectal cancer screening to start at age 45. However, some patients are still delaying screening. 

Benjamin Levy III, MD, a gastroenterologist at University of Chicago Medicine, spoke with Becker's to discuss the biggest threat to gastroenterology.

Editor's note: This response has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Dr. Benjamin Levy: I would say that the biggest threat is patients not getting screened and delaying their screening. Also, trying to get the screening performed on time. We recently changed our screening guidelines from age 50 to 45. I think one of the toughest things that we've been doing is trying to get the word out. 

We were seeing an increase in diagnosis of colon cancer at age 49, it was alarming. So the thought was to change the guidelines to begin screening at age 45. What we're seeing in clinical practice when we screen some of the patients at age 45 who are just doing their due diligence, frequently we'll see a polyp that's one or two centimeters in size. Literally in real-time we're preventing colorectal cancer. But there aren't enough patients within that age range between 45 and 50 that are coming in on time to get their screening colonoscopies.

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