New guidelines for colorectal cancer screenings

While you can’t control your genes, you can take care of your body. If you are between the ages of 45 and 50, add getting a colorectal screening to your list of “must dos” for good preventive care. If you thought that test was several years in your future, keep reading…

It’s true that the risk for colorectal cancer escalates with aging, but a surprising number of younger people are now losing their lives to this disease. A recent study by the American Cancer Society found that mortality rates for colon cancer among young and middle-aged adults have been increasing since the mid-2000s. That is why the new recommendation is to get screened for colorectal cancer when you turn 45.

So why are mortality rates for this type of cancer escalating among younger adults? According to the American Cancer Society, an unhealthy diet and a lack of physical activity are the likely culprits. Other studies suggest that high levels of insulin associated with obesity interfere with cells' ability to control regulatory genes at the DNA level. This disruption is being linked to cancer in colon cells.

Here are the most common types of colon cancer screenings:

  • High-sensitivity fecal occult blood test (FOBT): The stool is tested for blood. Should be done every year, if choosing this as an alternative to colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy.
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy: A flexible tube is inserted to check the rectum and last part of the colon. Should be done every five years.
  • Colonoscopy: A flexible tube is inserted into the colon and rectum to check for anything out of the ordinary. If polyps are found, they are normally removed for testing. Should be done every 10 years.

Check with your insurance to make sure a colonoscopy at 45 is covered!

To schedule an appointment, call (435) 713-1300.