A study published in 2020 by Dr Samir Gupta and associates investigated 2473 CCFR participants with colorectal cancer and 772 CCFR participants with no cancer. It found that looking at family history can help identify people who might have early onset colorectal cancer. About 25% of people aged 40 to 49 years old with colorectal cancer met the criteria for early screening based on their family history. If they had followed the recommended age of screening, more than 98% of these colorectal cancer diagnoses could have been detected earlier or possibly even prevented.
This shows the importance of early screening for people with a family history of colorectal cancer. However, the study also found that there is a need to develop new methods to identify the other 75% of people who are at risk.
The study showed that even when people met the criteria for early screening, not all of them were screened earlier. This could be due to a lack of information about their family history or because they waited until they were the same age as a relative who had colorectal cancer. The study highlights the importance of collecting and using family history to identify people who may be at risk for early onset colorectal cancer. Despite challenges such as limited information about family history, the study shows that efforts to collect and act on this information should be increased.
To read the study in full click here.