Early detection through routine screening significantly improves survival rates for colon cancer. The American Cancer Society is now recommending colon cancer screenings start earlier.
Last week, the American Cancer Society (ACS) proposed updates to its screening guidelines for colon cancer. As a result of increasing numbers of younger people being diagnosed with the disease, along with an accompanying rise in death rates, the ACS is now recommending that screening should begin at age 45 instead of 50.
While the guidelines do not suggest a specific test, traditional options include the colonoscopy – which should be repeated every ten years – or a number of non-invasive techniques, such as a fecal blood test, a fecal immunochemical test, or Colorguard, all of which can be conveniently done at home. The particular kind of test is based on such risk factors as age, a personal history of inflammatory bowel disease, a personal or family history of colorectal polyps or cancer, racial and ethnic background and type 2 diabetes.
Things that an individual can do to reduce the risk of colon cancer are to eliminate tobacco use; have a healthy diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains; maintain a healthy weight and a recommended level of physical activity, and avoid heavy alcohol consumption.
You can learn more about this from Joshua Raff, MD, Director of the Digestive Cancer Program at White Plains Hospital Center for Cancer Care, who was recently interviewed by News12 Westchester about these changes.