Among cancers that affect both men and women, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and The American Cancer Society (ACS) have updated their guidelines for colon cancer screenings. The updated recommendation is to begin colorectal screening exams for people 45 years of age, who are at an average risk for the disease.
Why 45 is the new 50?
In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of colorectal cancer rates among people under 50 years old. This increase prompted the lowering of the age recommendation to 45 years old. While medical experts continue to research the rise in the younger population, the CDC and ACS continue to recommend screenings such as the colonoscopy.
Who should get screened?
Getting recommended screenings can help prevent cancer. People should begin screening for colorectal cancer soon after turning 45. High risk patients may be recommended to have screening earlier if:
- You or a close relative have had colorectal polyps or colorectal cancer.
- You have an inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.
- You have a genetic syndrome such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP)external icon or hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (Lynch syndrome).
Adults aged 76 to 85 should ask their doctor.
Some symptoms of colorectal cancer may include the following:
- A change in bowel habits.
- Blood in or on your stool (bowel movement).
- Diarrhea, constipation, or feeling that the bowel does not empty all the way.
- Abdominal pain, aches, or cramps that don’t go away.
- Losing weight and you don’t know why.
If you have any questions about these symptoms or your health, it is important to talk to your medical provider immediately.
What is a colonoscopy?
The most common colorectal cancer screening is a procedure called the colonoscopy. The CDC explains that in this procedure, the doctor checks for polyps or cancer inside the rectum and the entire colon. During the test, the doctor can find some cancers and remove most polyps before they turn into cancer.
Where do I start?
The best thing you can do is to make an appointment with your primary care provider.
Your provider will evaluate your risk factors and, if necessary, help you schedule your colonoscopy with Audubon County Memorial Hospital’s general surgeon, Dr. Jeff Maire. Audubon County Memorial Hospital providers are accepting new patients in both the Audubon Family Health Clinic (712-563-4611) and the Exira Medical Clinic (712-268-5348).
Who can do the procedure?
Audubon County Memorial Hospital’s general surgeon, Dr. Jeff Maire performs colonoscopies in the Outpatient Specialty Clinic in Audubon. If you require a colonoscopy, the procedure can be done close to home. You can contact Audubon County Memorial Hospital Outpatient Specialty Clinic at 712-563-5304 for more information.