Why 45 Is the New 50: Explore Updates to Colonoscopy Recommendations
No matter if you’ve scheduled one or not, many individuals have heard that 50 is the magic number for colonoscopies. Most doctors suggest that patients undergo their initial colonoscopy screening upon turning 50 and every decade after that. New studies show, however, that you should arrange to have your initial colonoscopy screening even earlier than age 50.
So, when should you begin scheduling colonoscopy exams, and why has the recommendation changed? San Antonio Gastroenterology Associates is ready to answer your questions. Our board-certified gastroenterologists in San Antonio, TX can provide detailed information on what to anticipate when having a colonoscopy, when to have one, and much more.
Start screening earlier?
For years, we’ve heard that 50 is the age we should start having screenings for colorectal cancer. However, new studies reveal that it is wise to start screening even before then — at age 45. As a matter of fact, the USPSTF (United States Preventive Services Task Force) and the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) are advising it. In addition, many insurance companies, including Medicare, have updated their policies to begin covering colonoscopy exams at this age in life.
This change results from an elevation in the number of colon cancer cases in younger individuals. Between 2008 and 2017, the death rate in people 55 and younger increased by 1%. This rise is a bit surprising since the overall colon and rectal cancer rates in fact decreased during that particular timeframe.
In agreement with these recent revelations, our San Antonio Gastroenterology Associates colonoscopy doctors recommend undergoing a colon cancer screening with our San Antonio, TX gastroenterology team as soon as you turn 45 years old.
Why are colonoscopy screenings important for your health?
Most of us are probably aware that undergoing screenings for colorectal cancer is important as we advance in age. This is because colorectal cancer can be found in the early stage and often prevented with simple screenings. Whether a member of your family has experienced colorectal cancer, you have had colon cancer, or you’re over that “prime age,” colonoscopy exams are an important component of maintaining your overall health.
Taking less than an hour to complete, these screenings permit our doctors to gain a comprehensive, clear view of your colon. In the course of a colonoscopy screening, our specialists can assess for abnormalities and remove any colorectal polyps which can be sent to a laboratory for testing. By extracting these polyps, our objective is to find colon cancer at the initial stage, if not prevent further development.
What are the risk factors for colon and rectal cancer?
You now know when you should begin having screenings for colon cancer, but what might increase your risk for the disease? Common risk factors for colorectal cancer involve the following:
- Use of tobacco products
- Previous radiation treatments to the pelvic or abdominal area
- Family history of colorectal cancer
- Poor diet, or a diet high in fat and low in vegetables, fiber, and fruits
- An inflammatory bowel disease such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease
- Lack of physical activity
In the event you carry one or more of these risk factors, we encourage reaching out to your nearest San Antonio Gastroenterology Associates location as early as possible to determine if you are a candidate for a colonoscopy.
Schedule a colonoscopy screening in San Antonio, TX
We recognize that the thought of undergoing a colonoscopy exam might seem unappealing, but this quick, common, essential test could likely save your life. Whether you've turned 45 or are older, we urge you to contact San Antonio Gastroenterology Associates to request a colonoscopy consultation. At our modern gastroenterology centers in the San Antonio, TX area, we do our best to make these exams as comfortable and quick as possible. In the event you need help determining if your your insurance plan covers colonoscopies, our caring team will be pleased to assist.