19 May With colon cancer screenings now advised at age 45, Exact Sciences hoping to capitalize
New guidelines have moved the recommended age to start getting screened for colon cancer from age 50 to 45, which could also have major implications for Madison-based Exact Sciences Corp., the biotech company behind the at-home colon cancer screening test Cologuard.
The new guidelines released Tuesday by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, made up of a panel of experts that develops recommendations for clinical services, add an estimated 19 million Americans to the age group recommended for colorectal cancer screenings.
Dr. Durado Brooks, deputy chief medical officer with Exact Sciences’ Screening Business Unit, described the new guidelines, which bring task force recommendations in line with American Cancer Society recommendations to lower the screening age to 45 in 2018, as “a win for public health.”
“It eliminates any questions and confusion on the part of providers or the public about when you can start,” Brooks said. “Everybody is singing from the same hymn sheet right now. Everybody gets started at 45.”
The task force last year continued to endorse Cologuard as an option for screening 50- to 75-year-old patients for colorectal cancer and, for the first time, it also recommended Cologuard as an option for patients ages 45 to 49.