- •The incidence of colorectal cancer in individuals younger than 50 is increasing.
- •Colorectal cancer screening should be initiated at age 45 or younger depending on the risk factors.
- •Symptoms concerning for early-onset colorectal cancer including rectal bleeding, abdominal pain, and a change in bowel function should be thoroughly evaluated.
- •Nurse practitioners have a key role in promoting screening, identifying symptoms, and diagnosing colorectal cancer.
Worldwide there has been an alarming increase in the incidence of early-onset colorectal cancer (eoCRC). This prompted the United States Preventive Services Task Force to lower the age of colorectal cancer screening to 45 years for average-risk individuals. Nurse practitioners have an important role in implementing these evidence-based guidelines, understanding the risk factors for eoCRC, identifying concerning signs and symptoms of eoCRC, and providing thorough evaluations. Although more research is needed to understand eoCRC, nurse practitioners can use current knowledge to make meaningful impacts on the communities they serve.
Abbreviations:CRC (Colorectal Cancer), eoCRC (Early-Onset Colorectal Cancer), FIT (Fecal Immunochemical Test), gFOBT (Guaiac-based Fecal Occult Blood Test)
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Mary Radcliff, DNP, FNP-BC, AOCNP, Jasmine Gillett, MHS, PA-C, Zach Herrin, MHS, PA-C, Heather Smith, MMSc, PA-C, Leslie Swanson, MSN, AGPCNP-BC, AOCNP, and Carrie Graham, MSN, AOCNP, are affiliated with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle, WA. Mary Radcliff can be contacted at [email protected]
Published online: February 16, 2023
In compliance with standard ethical guidelines, the authors report no relationships with business or industry that would pose a conflict of interest.
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