New Guideline for Colon Cancer Screening
Recently, the American Cancer Society changed the age of a first colon cancer screening from age 50 to age 45. It’s important to know because it is proven that colon cancer screenings save lives. It’s also important to note: the earlier colon cancer screening is also recommended for both men and for women. That means no matter your gender The American Cancer Society recommends that you should have your first colon cancer screening at age 45.
Other Important Facts
The new guidelines are followed by doctors and cancer societies, but not all insurance companies follow them. What does that mean for you? So, unfortunately, each patient must determine what their coverage is before scheduling a screening to make sure your insurance company covers the procedure.
Understanding the Risks
Whether you’ve crossed the 45-year-old threshold, whether you are a man or a woman, you should know about the colon cancer risks. Understanding the risks beforehand is an important thing you can do for yourself and your health. Knowledge is the best preventative medicine.
Risks You Can Change
Some risks of colon cancer are caused by diet. For instance, a diet high in red meat such a beef, pork, and lamb is linked with colorectal cancer. Scientists have also shown how you cook these meats can be a risk factor, too. Red meats cooked at an extremely high temperature can cause the production of cancer-causing chemicals. Diet is one of the first (and easiest) adjustments you can make for your health. Deciding to limit red meat in your diet and instead adding proteins like chicken and fish is something everyone can do to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.
Another risk factor is weight. Being obese or overweight increases the risk of colorectal cancer. Maintaining a healthy weight with a healthy, balanced diet and exercise is good for your digestive health and your overall health, too.
Smoking and heavy drinking are also a high-risk factor for colorectal cancer.
Risks You Can Not Change
Tell your doctor about your family history. It's important for your health care provider to understand the genetic risk factors you might have, such as someone in your family having polyps, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, or type 2 Diabetes.
Symptoms to Look For
By simply knowing and understanding symptoms to look for, it is possible to stop the beginning stages of colon cancer before it moves into later stages. If you are age 45 and older, you should talk to your doctor immediately if you are suffering from the following.
- Sudden changes in bowel movement, such as constipation or diarrhea that won’t go away.
- Sudden changes in weight
- Changes in the anus or rectum, such as rectal bleeding or blood in the stool
- Stomach Cramps
If you are experiencing any or all of these symptoms no matter what your age or gender, it may be time for a colorectal screening by your gastroenterologist.
Additional Information About the New Cancer Screening Guideline
In 2017, The American Cancer Society came out with a study that showed an increase in death from colorectal cancer. This study also revealed that the rise in colorectal cancer in younger people, both men and women, was significant. In fact, it was a 51 percent increase since 1994. This is a major shift. And the impetus for the American Cancer Society to recommend new guidelines in which the age of first colon cancer screening was reduced from age 50 to age 45. Colon cancer is preventable with proper screening.
For more information about colon cancer and colon cancer screening, symptoms or how to prevent colon cancer call and schedule an appointment with Dr. Buch today.