Screening for colon cancer not only detects cancer early, but by removing polyps, which can turn into cancer, the screening can actually prevent cancer.
“This is the only cancer screening that can do this,” Guerra said.
Recommendations for colon cancer screening changed earlier this year.
Previously, the ACS stated that anyone over 50 years old should start screening with colonoscopy or a stool-based test. The new guidelines lowered the age to 45 years old.
“There is a concerning increased rate of colon cancer that we are seeing in younger individuals, even millennials, and we don’t know why. To better address this new trend, the recommendations were lowered and should continue through age 75,” said Guerra.
Between the ages of 76 and 85, you should talk with your doctor about whether screening makes sense, and once you reach 85, screening should stop.
Your healthcare provider will also determine how often to screen, but generally, screening is performed once every 10 years with a colonoscopy. If no polyps are found, then screening may continue in intervals of 3 or 5 years.
For those who are concerned that colonoscopy is embarrassing or painful, Guerra says, “The truth is people who have had a colonoscopy almost universally say that the worst part is the prep, which may vary, but generally consists of a liquid you take in two portions and a clear liquid diet.”
She adds that most people don’t remember the procedure because they receive a sedative that helps them sleep.
“Sometimes the sedative is combined with a medicine that makes you forget things, so most people wake up and don’t think they had the colonoscopy, yet it’s over,” Guerra said.
Source : https://www.healthline.com/health-news/top-4-cancer-screenings-that-should-be-on-your-radar