Colorectal cancer (sometimes called colon cancer) is the third leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States.

Colorectal cancer incidence rates have declined in people 55 years of age and older over the past two decades, largely due to adherence to screening guidelines, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). While that’s good news for a lot of people, unfortunately, the incidence rate has increased 51 percent in those under age 50 since 1994.[i]

To address these rising rates in a younger population, ACS recently updated its screening guidelines for colorectal cancer. Now, ACS encourages women and men of average-risk to receive first-time screening at age 45 rather than at age 50. This change in ACS guidelines would allow approximately 21 million people more to have access to colorectal cancer screening.

Screening can be done either with a laboratory test that looks for signs of cancer in a person’s stool (a stool-based test), or with an imaging exam that looks at the colon and rectum (a visual exam, such as by colonoscopy).

“Colon cancer can be deadly, but many people are afraid to be tested because colonoscopies require sedation and are considered by some to be an invasive procedure,” said Yuri Fesko, MD, Medical Director of Oncology, Quest Diagnostics. “These ACS guidelines open the door for stool-based tests such as InSure ONE that can be performed in the privacy of one’s home. This, combined with the addition of younger people to the screening pool, will hopefully help reduce colorectal cancer incidence rates.”

In late 2018, Quest Diagnostics announced the availability of the InSure® ONE™, which is an at-home collection, one-day fecal immunochemical test that meets ACS guidelines and HEDIS quality measures for lower gastrointestinal bleeding screening programs. While physicians may order this test for patients across the United States, in  certain states, people can order this test without a doctor’s order through Quest’s direct to consumer offering, Blueprint Fit. InSure ONE requires sample collection from one bowel movement in toilet bowl water. For those in states where Blueprint Fit is not available, InSure ONE can be ordered through a doctor. Positive results should be followed up with a colonoscopy to confirm a colorectal cancer diagnosis.

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. People with certain risk factors including a personal history of colorectal cancer or certain types of polyps, a family history of colorectal cancer or a personal history of inflammatory bowel disease. As always, individuals should speak with a physician about the best screening protocol for them.

[i] American Cancer Society. Colon Cancer Facts and Figures. https://www.cancer.org/research/cancer-facts-statistics/colorectal-cancer-facts-figures.html. Accessed July 13, 2018