Doctors Recommend Colon Cancer Screenings for Younger Adults as Rates Rise
Experts say adults under 50 are reporting more cases of colon cancer, while rates are down for adults older than 50.
Doctors at the American Cancer Society are recommending that adults undergo colon cancer screenings at an earlier age.
The recommendation comes as a new study published in the journal Cancer finds cases of colon cancer for people younger than 50 has gone up over the past decade--all while cases of colon cancer among people older than 50 are on the decline.
According to CBS News , the decline in cancer cases in older adults is due to the success of screenings like colonoscopies, which spot polyps that can be removed before they become cancerous.
Colon cancer is the fourth most-common form of cancer in the United States, and second-most deadly. But doctors agree that early detection is the best way to treat the disease, which is why the American Cancer Society has lowered its recommended age for initial screenings from age 50 to 45. Other health organizations have not followed suit, but patients should have the conversation with their doctor.
According to the American Cancer Society, risk factors for colon cancer include obesity, tobacco use, heavy alcohol use and certain diets (particularly those high in red meat and processed foods). A personal history of inflammatory bowel disease or a family history of colorectal cancer are also risk factors to discuss with your doctor.