Background & Aims: A disturbing increase in early-onset colorectal cancer (EOCRC) has prompted recent guidelines to recommend lowering the colorectal cancer (CRC) screening starting age from 50 to 45 years old for average-risk individuals. Little is known about the prevalence of colorectal neoplasia in individuals between 45 and 49 years old, or even younger, in the United States. We analyzed a large, nationally representative data set of almost 3 million outpatient colonoscopies to determine the prevalence of, and risk factors for, colorectal neoplasia among patients aged 18 to 54. Methods: Findings from high-quality colonoscopies were analyzed from AMSURG ambulatory endoscopy centers (ASCs) that report their results in the GI Quality Improvement Consortium (GIQuIC) Registry. Logistic regression was used to identify risk factors for EOCRC. Results: Increasing age, male sex, White race, family history of CRC, and examinations for bleeding or screening were all associated with higher odds of advanced premalignant lesions (APLs) and CRC. Among patients aged 45 to 49, 32% had any neoplasia, 7.5% had APLs, and 0.58% had CRC. Rates were almost as high in those aged 40 to 44. Family history of CRC portended neoplasia rates 5 years earlier. Rates of APLs were higher in American Indian/Alaskan Natives, but lower among Blacks, Asians, and Hispanics, compared with White counterparts. The prevalence of any neoplasia and APL gradually increased between 2014 and 2019, in all age groups. Conclusions: These data provide support for lowering the screening age to 45 for all average-risk individuals. Early messaging to patients and providers in the years leading up to age 45 is warranted, especially in those with a family history of CRC.
- Colorectal Neoplasms
- Early Detection of Cancer