Colon Cancer Screening Age Lowered

June 28, 2018

The American Cancer Society (ACS) has recently released updated guidelines that lower the recommended age for colon cancer screening. According to the new ACS recommendations, those at average risk for colon cancer should begin screening at age 45 instead of 50. The new guidelines were put in place following a major data review that showed a rising rate of colon cancer in adults younger than 50.

The updated guidelines also state that those at higher than average risk may need to begin screening prior to age 45, and more frequently and/or with specific tests. However, it is important to remember that colon cancer does not discriminate and can happen to men and women at any age.

There are several methods available for colon cancer screening, including colonoscopies.

“A colonoscopy is a vital screening method with potentially lifesaving benefits,” says Dr. Arthur Cooler, General Surgeon with Providence Surgical Associates. “Colonoscopies can improve our ability to detect colorectal cancer quickly and early, which makes this disease much more easily treatable.”

What to Expect During a Colonoscopy

Colonoscopies are an easier procedure than many realize. Shortly before the procedure, you will likely be given pain medication and a sedative to minimize discomfort. During the approximately 30-minute procedure, any polyps found will be removed by the doctor, and tissue samples will be sent for a biopsy.

Keep in mind that you will be instructed to follow a special diet the day before your procedure and will need to have someone take you home afterward.

Colon Cancer Prevention

In addition to regular screenings, you can also help prevent colon cancer by living a healthy lifestyle that includes daily exercise, a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, limiting your alcohol intake and eliminating smoking. These practices can reduce your risk for colorectal and many other forms of cancer. Knowing your family’s medical history is also important – a history of the disease in your immediate family puts you at a higher risk for the disease.

Talk to your doctor about colorectal cancer risks and discuss which tests are right for you. If you need a primary care provider, we will help you find one conveniently located near you.  Call our physician referral line: 800-424-DOCS

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Dr. Arthur Cooler received his medical degree from The Medical College of Georgia School of Medicine in Augusta, Georgia after receiving a Bachelors of Science in Molecular Biology from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.  He completed his residency in General Surgery at The University of South Carolina School of Medicine. “With my passion for vascular surgery, I have been able help patients that come to me with pain in their legs due to arterial blockages by identifying and treating those blocked vessels with interventional and minimally invasive techniques, thereby improving their quality of life and in many cases preventing amputations from occurring” says Dr. Cooler. “I am pleased to offer this care in the Midlands, and proud to join the high quality and compassionate team at Providence Surgical Associates.” Widely respected in his field, Dr. Cooler has co-authored numerous articles and has provided numerous educational lectures to other physicians, medical students, and patients themselves during his 20 plus years of practice.