Commentary: Screening Young Adults for Nonhereditary Colorectal Cancer

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In a related commentary, ­Kiran K. Turaga, MD, MPH, of the Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, writes: “In the setting of these congratulatory reports of a successful public health screening program, this report from Bailey et al is rather unsettling.”

“Nevertheless, assuming that this increasing incidence of colorectal cancer in young adults is a real phenomenon, it begs the question of why this is occurring and what one should do about it,” Dr. Turaga continues.

“Hence, widespread application of colonoscopic screening might add significant cost and risk without societal benefit. However, this report should stimulate opportunities for development of better risk-prediction tools that might help us identify these individuals early and initiate better screening/prevention strategies. The use of stool DNA, genomic profiling and mathematical modeling might all be tools in the armamentarium of the oncologist in the near future,” the author concludes. ■


1. Turaga KK: Commentary: Screening young adults for nonhereditary colorectal cancer. JAMA Surg. November 5, 2014 (early release online).