Earlier this year, in May of 2021, new guidelines were published by the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), recommending that colon cancer screening begin at the age of 45. These new guidelines will enable younger people to be screened, increasing the ability for Blair Gastro physicians to detect pre-cancerous lesions and polyps earlier. This early detection and removal will reduce the mortality rate for colorectal cancer. The guidelines follow a recommendation by the American Cancer Society in 2020, that the age for screening be reduced due to the alarming rise in the incidence of colon cancer in patients younger than 50 years of age. In a recent article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) it was reported that by 2030, colon cancer is projected to be the leading cause of cancer deaths in patients ages 20 to 49 years.
Blair Gastroenterology Associates is the first private practice in Pennsylvania to use Artificial Intelligence (AI) through an FDA approved computer system to assist in the detection of colon cancer through screening colonoscopy. The AI technology is being used in Blair Gastro’s Colon Cancer Screening Center, Allegheny Regional Endoscopy, located in Altoona. Through deep learning algorithms, the system enhances the ability to find polyps and lesions in the colon.