Colon Cancer Screening Age 45

Colon Cancer Screening Age 45


– My name is Patrice Michaletz-Onody and I’m a gastroenterologist with Rocky Mountain Gastroenterology. And I’m here to talk to you about the new screening colonoscopy guidelines that the American Cancer
Society came out with in May. The American Cancer Society,
looking at all the data, suggested that the new age to start screening is 45 rather than 50. And that’s because there have
been a tremendous increase in the number of people with colon cancer, and specifically rectal cancer, between the ages of 45 and 50. It’s traditionally thought
that about 30% of men have pre-cancerous colon
polyps and 20% of women. We’re now finding that it’s important to find those polyps
which are pre-cancerous in 45-year-olds rather
than just 50-year-olds. There’s been a 51% increase
in cancer of the colon and rectum in patients
between the ages of 45 and 50. Common systems of colon cancer
include rectal bleeding, change in bowel habits, lower
abdominal pain or cramping, but most importantly cancers
present with no symptoms. It’s certainly is worthwhile
for a young patient to pay attention to symptoms but probably, as the American Cancer
Society has recommended, even more important for
asymptomatic patients to have their colonoscopies
at age 45 rather than 50. Some people ask why there
are so much colon cancer in the U.S. in younger
patients and we’re not sure. Although for years we’ve
known that obesity, sedentary lifestyle, excess
ingestion of red meat, alcohol and even cigarette
smoking can increase the risk for colorectal polyps, which would translate to
early on-set colon cancer. There are some theories that perhaps even the bacterial microbiome of the
colon may make a difference and we certainly are learning that the response to chemotherapy
for colon cancer can be altered by the gut microbiome. So those are areas of research. But certainly the lack of
an active American lifestyle is impacting colon cancer. Although all gastro-neurologists agree with the new screening guidelines we are waiting for other societies to concur with the American Cancer Society so that insurance companies start covering screening colonoscopies
at age 45 rather than 50.

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