Here’s to celebrating the new year and good colorectal health! Think about it – you’re halfway to 90! If you want to double your lifespan, start taking action now. If you’re 45, it’s time to think about undergoing colon cancer screening. The top Atlanta colorectal surgeons at Piedmont Colorectal Associates explain why it’s important to have a first colonoscopy around the age of 45.
Early Detection Saves Lives
The primary reason for undergoing your first colonoscopy at 45 is straightforward. Early detection of colon cancer can save your life.
Abnormal growths known as polyps, found in the colon or rectum, are almost always where colorectal cancer originates. Not all polyps are cancerous, but a colonoscopy detects precancerous growths. Removing them means those polyps won’t become cancerous.
In one procedure, polyps are identified, diagnosed and removed. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, you won’t need another colonoscopy for a decade.
When To Test Before Age 45
For most people, starting colon screening at 45, and then continuing with screening at regular intervals, is appropriate. However, people with certain conditions or family histories should consider earlier screenings if any of the following apply:
- Diagnosis of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
- Family history of colorectal cancer
- Genetic syndromes, such as Lynch syndrome or familial adenomatous polyposis
Other factors that increase the risk of developing colon cancer include:
- Heavy alcohol use
Black adults have the highest risk of developing colon cancer and the greatest mortality. Between 2014 and 2018, colorectal cancer deaths in Black adults were 18 deaths per 100,000 adults. For Caucasians, the rate was 13.6 deaths for every 100,000 adults. Asians had the lowest rate at 9.4 deaths per 100,000 adults.
Men are somewhat more likely to develop colon cancer than women.
Changes in Screening Age
In the past, 50 was the recommended age for an initial colonoscopy. The reason for the change? Colon cancer rates are rising in those under 50.
In May 2021, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommended lowering the screening age because while the “benefit of reducing colorectal cancer deaths by screening for colorectal cancer in adults 50 years or older is well established through trial data,” earlier colorectal screening may “increase life-years gained,” and decrease cancer and death rates.
For More Information, Arrange a Consultation
If you are 45 or older and never had a colonoscopy before, schedule a personal consultation at Piedmont Colorectal Associates. We will answer all of your questions regarding colonoscopy and arrange for the procedure.