As you get older, you will need to schedule some health screenings that could help your doctor detect problems in their earliest stages. Those screenings include colon cancer screenings, but a lot of people are under the impression that they don’t need to worry about this until they are much older. Well, it turns out that new guidelines are recommending that individuals start colon cancer screenings at 45 years of age, rather than 50. Continue reading to learn why.
The Reason for the Change
According to CNN, the new guidelines for colon cancer screenings are the result of a rise in the number of colorectal cancer cases in younger adults. These new guidelines also allow for six different screening options that include visual exams, such as colonoscopy, and noninvasive stool tests. Therefore, a doctor and patient can decide which screening test is most appropriate.
Are You at a Higher Risk of Colon Cancer?
Individuals who have a personal history of rectal or colon polyps, as well as those with a family history of these problems, are at a higher risk of developing colon cancer. Others who are considered higher risk individuals include Alaska Natives and African Americans. Experts recommend that those who are at a greater risk of developing colon cancer start screening at an earlier age.
Other Ways to Reduce Your Risk
In addition to ensuring you get colon cancer screenings, there are other steps that you can take daily to help reduce your overall risk of developing this disease. Being physically active in order to avoid a sedentary lifestyle is one big step that you can take. Other than that, focusing on consuming healthy foods that are high in fiber is a great choice as well. Avoiding the consumption of alcoholic beverages, processed meat, and red meat may also be associated with a decrease in the risk of developing colorectal cancer. Plus, it is a good idea to keep an eye out for changes in your stool or in your bowel habits so that you can talk to your doctor if you notice anything is different from the norm.
Talk to Your Doctor About Colon Cancer Screenings
Now that you know a bit more about the latest guidelines surrounding screenings for colon cancer, you can talk to your doctor about scheduling your first test. You can also talk to your doctor about your personal risk factors, as well as what you can do to reduce your overall risk.