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Colonoscopy age adjustment

When to begin screening for colon cancer.

Article Author: Juice Staff

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colon cancer screening age change

Colorectal cancer is now the leading cause of cancer death in men under 50 and second leading in women of the same age, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). In response to the ongoing rise of diagnoses in younger adults, the United States Preventive Services Task Force – an independent panel of national experts that makes evidence-based recommendations about clinical preventive services – lowered the recommended age to begin colon cancer screening to 45 from the previously recommended 50.

4 things to know about colon cancer screenings

Colonoscopies, the most well-known colon cancer screening, can be intimidating, no butts about it. The bottom line is this: putting off this critical procedure could have long-term implications for your health. Ron Landmann, MD, FACS, chief of Colon and Rectal Surgery at Baptist MD Anderson Cancer Center, cleared up concerns about colonoscopies and other colon cancer screenings.

  • Photo of Ron Landmann, MD, FACS

    Baptist MD Anderson Cancer Physicians

    Ron Landmann, MD, FACS

    Colon and Rectal Surgeon, General Surgeon, Surgical Oncologist

1. Early detection could save your life.

When colorectal cancer is found before it has spread, the survival rate is about 90%, according to the ACS. Unfortunately, only 40% are found at this early stage.

If you have a family history or increased risk of colon cancer, you may be eligible for early screening. Talk to your insurance provider to learn more about your options.

To learn who is at the highest risk and other factors that contribute to colon cancer, listen to this podcast interview with Dr. Landmann.

2. Colonoscopy prep is better than it used to be.

While you still have to stick to clear liquids 24 hours before the procedure, gone are the days of drinking a gallon of foul-tasting medication. Now, you can mix in your favorite powdered lemonade or certain flavors of Gatorade.

"In the more than 15 years I've been in the profession, colonoscopies have advanced leaps and bounds," Dr. Landmann said. "The prep, which is often the most intimidating part of the process, has become more streamlined and easier to handle."

Some doctors give patients laxatives to reduce the amount they have to drink, while others break the prep liquid into two parts, making it much more "digestible."

3. The colonoscopy itself is typically short.

The 30-minute colonoscopy procedure involves checking for and removing growths called polyps in the colon. The lining of the colon is not sensitive to removal techniques, so the patient won't feel a thing. Afterward, the growths may be biopsied to determine whether they're cancerous. The procedure may take a bit longer if the patient has many polyps.

4. There is an at-home option for screenings.

If you're at average risk of colon cancer and really don't want a colonoscopy, you may consider Cologuard, an at-home stool-based test that detects blood and altered DNA. You can request a referral from your primary care physician's office. Cologuard is not as accurate as a colonoscopy. Those who get a positive result should be referred for a diagnostic colonoscopy.

Is it time for your colon cancer screening?

Call 904.202.4YOU or visit baptistjax.com/coloncancerscreening to schedule an appointment and learn more about your options.

Source: American Cancer Society

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