New colorectal cancer screening guidelines announced
There’s good news for individuals looking to live longer, healthier lives. The American Cancer Society and U.S. Multi-Society Task Force (MSTF) on Colorectal Cancer now recommend beginning colorectal cancer screenings at age 45. The guidelines previously recommended that screening begin at 50.
That’s right, the sudden rapid arrival of what may be your first colonoscopy is great news—and here’s why.
The facts about colorectal cancer
Colorectal cancer is the third most common type of cancer worldwide. Despite being highly preventable through regular screenings, if caught too late, it can prove to be fatal.
Colorectal cancer is unique in that it develops in stages. First, the lining of your colon develops polyps, which may be precancerous. Over time, these polyps can become cancerous and spread. Some screening techniques, such as colonoscopy, allow the doctor to remove them as soon as they’re discovered, potentially preventing cancer from developing in the first place.
“Given that this is the third most common type of cancer worldwide, I would not recommend delaying appropriate screening as it is highly preventable by undergoing a colonoscopy,” added Dr. Kavita Singh
, a gastroenterologist
with Swedish Medical Group
. “The reason why colon cancer is highly preventable is because we can remove precancerous polyps during the procedure.”
Learn more about Integrated Cancer Care at Swedish Hospital.
Why the change in guidelines?
The decision to change the recommended age to begin screening for colorectal cancer is due to the fact that physicians are increasingly seeing younger patients who are presenting with cases of colorectal cancer. This has led experts to determine that screening for this specific type of cancer at an earlier age has the potential to help more patients avoid cancer in the first place.
You have options
Regular testing is crucial to catching polyps that can grow in the lining of the colon which may turn into cancer.
Stool blood tests
Examine a sample of the patient’s stool for traces of blood that can’t be seen. Blood doesn’t necessarily mean cancer, but lets the physician know that further tests should be considered.
Uses a flexible scope to see directly inside a portion of the colon and can allow the physician to remove polyps if they are present.
Call your insurance carrier to verify benefits for your age group, including procedures and anesthesia.
Learn more about cancer screening and diagnosis at Swedish Hospital.
Kavita Singh, M.D., is a board-certified gastroenterologist with Swedish Medical Group. Her clinical interests include Barrett’s esophagus, celiac disease, colonoscopy, GERD/acid reflux, inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and women’s health. She has more than 10 years of experience.
To schedule an appointment, please call 773-907-3038
By David Modica | Published June 12, 2018