But when the data pointed to a "persistent increase" among younger people across demographic groups, the society made a decision to recommend younger screening ages for all adults, said Richard Wender, chief cancer control officer for the group.
"There's no way I would've ever imagined being here at 35", Michael Fiske said.
What are the signs of colon cancer? But not everyone agrees with a starting age of 45.
The new ACS guideline here also recommends 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.
If the test is positive, a colonoscopy is recommended, Wender says, but only one in five people test positive for blood in their stool.
Dr. Robin B. Mendelsohn, a gastroenterologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in NY, says there's been an "alarming" increase in cancer among younger adults.
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If you're in your mid-40's and haven't had your colon checked, it might be time. In updated guidelines released Wednesday, it inched the recommended age to 45. Experts aren't sure why there has been a 50 percent increase in cases in younger adults since 1994.
The organization says colorectal cancer "is the fourth most commonly diagnosed cancer among adults in the United States", but that early detection lowers the risk of death.
While the overall costs and benefits of earlier screening remain unclear, the message that screening is important and can come in many forms is crucial, said David Weinberg, chairman of medicine at Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia.
Cologuard is indicated to screen adults of either sex, 50 years or older, who are at typical average-risk for CRC.
Groups known to suffer disproportionately high rates of colon cancer include African-Americans, Alaska Natives, and American Indians.
"For the past, maybe as much as ten years, we're seeing younger and younger patients with advanced colon cancer", O'Neil said.
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The American Cancer Society hopes it will help to catch colon or rectal cancer early.
Additionally, more research could shed light on why there has been a rise in colorectal cancer among these younger adults, said Dr. George Chang, chief of colorectal surgery at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, who was not involved in the updated guidelines.
If this new guideline is adopted, lives will be saved.
A prominent cancer organization is for the first time recommending Americans initiate colorectal cancer screening at age 45 instead of waiting until age 50, a threshold long endorsed by many other medical groups.
In 2014, 43 percent of colorectal cancer cases in those under 50 were in adults ages 45 to 49, according to Rebecca L. Siegel, an epidemiologist with the American Cancer Society and the lead author of several reports showing a rise in colorectal cancers in adults as young as their 20s and 30s. Two of the three models showed a "modest" benefit with colonoscopy every 15 years starting at age 45, whereas the third did not. But he noted that younger people are also at increased risk.
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