Age 45 is now recommended as the time to start screening for colorectal cancer among all average risk adults according to the new guidelines from the American College of Gastroenterology. This is an important change from earlier guideline that used to recommend starting at age 50 for most people. Now 45 is the new 50 to start screening for everyone at average risk for colorectal cancer.
With screening, our gastroenterologist can diagnose colorectal cancers at an earlier stage, find colon polyps early so that they can be safely removed and help to prevent colorectal cancer. Please do not hesitate to talk to our gastroenterologists about new or worrying bowel symptoms, even those that seem hard to discuss or share, including:
- Blood in the your stool.
- Change in bowel habits.
- Change in the shape and size of stool.
- Rectal pain.
- Abdominal Pain or Unexpected Weight Loss.
- Unexplained or new anemia.
Your gastroenterologists at Digestive Disease Associates of Rockland have many tools in the arsenal to facilitate the diagnosis of colorectal cancer. A colonoscopy, the most common method, is a one-step test that looks for growths called polyps in your entire colon (large intestine) and rectum using a colonoscope. Your doctor can both detect and remove polyps during your colonoscopy. Stool Based Tests like a FIT tests detect blood or altered DNA in your stool. A positive result would require a colonoscopy for further examination. Other tests for individuals who are not candidates for a colonoscopy include CT Colonography and Colon Capsule. Once again, it is important to note that both tests will still require a follow-up colonoscopy, if positive.
We implore you not to put off preventative health screening! Remember, the most common symptom of early colon and rectal cancers is NO symptoms, so it is important to get screened!