New Study Supports CRC Screening for People Older Than 75

October 20, 2021 by Elisa Becze BA, ELS, Editor

Colorectal cancer (CRC) screening may be beneficial for certain patients aged 75–85, according to findings from a new study. The researchers reported the results in JAMA Oncology.

Using data from two large, long-term studies of U.S. healthcare professionals, the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, the researchers identified 56,374 participants who reached age 75 during the study period. Among those patients, 661 developed CRC and 323 died from the disease.

Screening after age 75 was linked with a 39% reduction in CRC incidence and a 40% decrease in the risk of death from CRC. The researchers found similar reductions in the risk of death from CRC, regardless of whether participants had ever undergone screening before age 75. However, in the presence of comorbidities (e.g., a history of cardiovascular disease, multiple underlying health conditions), screening produced no clear reduction in CRC–related deaths, although the findings were less definitive.

U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendations advise for screening patients older than 75 only with a patient-provider discussion and shared decision making that considers prior screening history, comorbidities, and patient preference. The study authors said their findings continue to support that recommendation.

“In this cohort study, endoscopy among individuals older than 75 years was associated with lower risk of CRC incidence and CRC-related mortality,” the researchers wrote. “These data support continuation of screening after 75 years of age among individuals without significant comorbidities.”

Get the resources you need to care for patients with CRC through ONS’s CRC Learning Library.


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