Personalizing Colon Cancer Screening: Role of Age and Comorbid Conditions

Melissa Magrath, Edward Yang, Amit G. Singal

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose of Review: This review will discuss the impact of patient age and comorbidity on colorectal cancer (CRC) screening value. Recent Findings: Society guidelines recommend CRC screening starting at age 50 in average-risk individuals, but there is less agreement about when screening should be discontinued. In clinical practice, CRC screening and follow-up recommendations among elderly patients appear to be driven more by chronological age than by comorbid illnesses. However, several studies have highlighted the interaction between age and comorbidity burden when selecting appropriate patients for CRC screening. Although CRC screening may be beneficial until age 75–80 years among patients with no comorbidity, it has only modest benefits at an early age in those with high comorbidity. Summary: Clinicians should adopt the concept of “health-adjusted age” and identify “healthy elderly” patients who would benefit from CRC screening and the “unhealthy young” in whom the benefits of CRC screening are likely limited.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)220-226
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Colorectal Cancer Reports
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017


  • Colon cancer
  • Colonoscopy
  • Comorbidity
  • Elderly
  • Screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Oncology
  • Gastroenterology


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