When you turn 40, it’s a good time to re-evaluate your health and your lifestyle. Some of your habits up to this point may have been good and healthy, but most of us have a history of not living the healthiest of lifestyles.
Your doctor may have very good reason to recommend a colonoscopy even if you’re under the age of 40. For one thing, colorectal cancer is a fairly common issue among men.
Colon cancer or colorectal cancer can be prevented if it’s caught very early and treated successfully. Colon cancer rates are in decline thanks to people taking preventive measures, especially the increase of colonoscopies to screen for colorectal cancer.
We all should make an effort to live longer and healthier lives with our families. If your doctor has recommended a colonoscopy, it’s a good idea to heed the advice.
Colorectal Screening for Younger People
Men and women are being urged to pay more attention to their health earlier than ever before.
Most of the time, we’re all so busy with our lives, we barely even think of medical checkups.
But doctors across the world are beginning to see an increase in colon cancer rates for younger people – even while the overall rate is going down – in people as young as their 20s.
In response to this, the average age for a recommended first colonoscopy has been pushed from 50 years old to 45. And those who have a family history of colon or colorectal cancer, or who themselves have certain health conditions, are encouraged to be tested even sooner.
How Often Do I Have to Get My Colon Checked?
Typically, regular checkups are recommended every 3 to 5 years for men in their 20s and 30s. Once they reach 40, they should increase their visits to every 1 or 2 years.
However, most people don’t receive this checkup as often as they should, or at all. The most common reasons people postpone a colorectal screening, aside from the judgment that it’s unnecessary, is because of the fear of the unknown.
Fortunately, many common worries about getting a colonoscopy are unfounded – or are more manageable than they realize. Many patients say that understanding the process helps them prepare.
Types of Colon Tests
There are two types of colorectal screening tests:
- A stool or fecal test is only able to detect existing cancer.
- A scope test – including colonoscopy, CT colonography, or sigmoidoscopy – are able to detect cancer as well as bead-like precancerous tissues called polyps.
A colonoscopy is typically preferred by your physician, because it allows the testing doctor to remove any precancerous polyps during the exam, if they exist. It also allows them to prepare you for surgery if a tumor or cancer is found.
Best-case scenario: Nothing is found, and you don’t have to do it again for another 2 to 5 years.
Internal Medicine Doctors in Sarasota
If you or a loved one may be at risk for colon cancer, it’s important to seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Call the friendly and experienced staff at Intercoastal Medical Group for an appointment at one of our locations throughout the Sarasota and Bradenton area. You can also request an appointment online. Getting a colonoscopy may be all that stands in the balance between you and a healthy, long life.