Age 45 is when the CDC recommends people begin being screened for colon cancer. Since colon cancer is such a prevalent cause of death and serious illness in adults, screening can ensure the disease is detected earlier when it's easier to treat. However, not everyone should wait until age 45 to be screened for colon cancer. Here are some situations in which you should really arrange for earlier screening.
You have a family history of colon cancer
Doctors often recommend that those with a family history of colon cancer get screened earlier. While colon cancer is not strictly an inherited condition, you are more likely to develop it if your parents or other family members have had it. Ask your doctor when they would recommend you begin screening. Their answer will depend on how many family members have had the disease, and also the ages at which your family members were diagnosed.
You have been diagnosed with a digestive disease
Have you been diagnosed with a condition like irritable bowel syndrome or Crohn's Disease? People with digestive disorders like these tend to be at a higher risk for colon cancer. So, especially if you developed these diseases early in life, your doctor will probably recommend earlier screening. The good news is that the primary means of screening for colon cancer — colonoscopies — is also the primary means of screening for Crohn's Disease and similar ailments. So, you might be able to get checked for colon cancer and have the progress of your disease state checked at the same time.
You have symptoms that could mean you have colon cancer
Your doctor will probably also want to screen you early if you have any symptoms that might indicate colon cancer. Now, keep in mind that these symptoms can be vague. Loose stools, blood in your stool, unexplained abdominal pain, weight loss — these are all symptoms of colon cancer, but they can also be symptoms of many other ailments. So, being screened for colon cancer early on can eliminate that possibility, helping your doctor decide what to do next in terms of diagnostics.
Most people are perfectly fine waiting until they are 45 to begin colon cancer screening. However, if you fall into any of the categories above, early screening would be wise. Talk to your doctor for more specific recommendations unique to your own health and wellness.
Contact a company like Gastro Health to learn more about colon cancer screening.Share