Colon Cancer Update: 45 is the new 50
The recent death of actor Chadwick Boseman, star of Black Panther, at age 43 of colon cancer is a profound tragedy and a sobering reminder of the importance of efforts directed at colon cancer prevention, even in those under 50. Especially shocking about the death of Mr. Boseman is the young age at which he was diagnosed.
It has been traditional to think of colon cancer as a disease of older persons. It is now clear that this conception is changing - younger patients, even those in their 30s and 40s, are now at risk of developing pre-cancerous polyps. We have confirmed this observation at our own endoscopic facility. (Khaykis I, Ahwal K, Sharma R, Sherman A. Do Colorectal Adenomas grow younger? Save the Millennials (Abstract). Gastro Endosc 2018: 87: AB496.)
Fortunately, colon cancer is preventable - timely screening colonoscopy can detect and remove pre-cancerous growths and prevent colon cancer from developing.
Timely screening is more important now than ever - the pandemic due to Covid-19 has led to an interruption in colon cancer screening and prevention efforts. This may lead to a delayed diagnosis of colon cancer, possibly at a more advanced stage.
In response to accumulating data, the American Cancer Society has lowered the recommended age of first screening colonoscopy from 50 to 45.
Based on abundant scientific data, we at Vanguard Gastroenterology strongly feel that:
* Colon cancer is a preventable disease.
* A program of regular screening colonoscopy should begin at age 45 in all average-risk adults of all races and ethnicities, in both women and men.
* Those with a family history of colon cancer should begin screening at 40, or at 10 years younger than the age at which their family member was diagnosed, whichever is earlier.
* Earlier screening is recommended in those with inflammatory bowel disease, or in those with a history of abdominal or pelvic radiation.
* Symptoms of colon cancer, such as unexplained abdominal pain or weight loss, change in bowel habit, rectal bleeding, or the finding of anemia, should prompt a diagnostic colonoscopy at any age.
* Colonoscopy is easy, safe, and painless.
* Do not delay - the best time to schedule a colonoscopy is now.
Contact us to discuss this recommendation with your doctor, or to schedule your screening colonoscopy.
Contact info: 212-889-5544