New Guidelines Suggest Earlier Colonoscopies

New research indicates that younger men and women need to start thinking about laying face down for that colonoscopy, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

The American Cancer Society has making a significant change in its guidelines to physicians, saying colonoscopy should begin at 45, not at 50, as has been recommended for decades.

The reason, according to the ACS, is people born in 1990 have double the risk of developing colon cancer, and four times the risk of developing rectal cancer, than people born in 1950, due largely to changing lifestyles and diets.

Dr. Sukeshi Arora, who is an expert on colon cancer at U.T. Health San Antonio, applauds the change.

"We are seeing more and more patients present at earlier ages with colon cancer," she said.Colon and rectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death in the United States, with some 50,000 people dying from the disease each year.

Dr. Arora says colon and rectal cancers are also among the most easily treated cancers if they are discovered through early testing."Lowering the age to 45 is hopefully going to help us find these cancers at lower stages, and find polyps and prevent cancer in the future," she said.

Death rates from colorectal cancer have been falling sharply in recent years, Dr. Arora said, due to more widespread testing.

The ACS says researchers are also developing 'at home kits' for do-it-yourself colorectal cancer screening.

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