Sex could determine bowel screening age

BOWEL cancer screening programs may need a gender-specific starting age, according to research identifying a 10-year lag in disease onset in women.

The study, which involved 45,000 Austrians at a mean age of 60 who took part in routine screening from 2007 to 2010, found men had a higher prevalence of colorectal cancer (CRC) and precancerous polyps compared to women.

These also occurred earlier in life, prompting the conclusion that “it may be important to start CRC screening in men earlier than age 50 years”.

“In adenoma detection, comparable prevalence rates were found in men aged 45 years and women who are 10 years older and the same was true for the detection of [advanced adenoma],” the authors said. 

”In the detection of CRC, 55-year-old men had comparable prevalence with 65-year-old women.”

Sydney gastroenterologist Dr Cameron Bell said that as the Austrian screening program used