Colon cancer screenings work!
From 2000 to 2013, the diagnosis rate for colon cancer in people older than 50 dropped by 32%. This dramatic decrease is mostly due to the increase in colonoscopies and colon cancer screenings. Polyps are removed during screenings, before they can develop into cancer. Colon cancer’s mortality rate also dropped in that time frame, by 34%. This is fantastic news for older adults.
Unfortunately, physicians have seen an uptick in colon and rectal cancer diagnoses in people under the age of 50. An American Cancer Society study found that in adults ages 20 to 39, the incidents of colon cancer increased by 1-2% each year and rectal cancer rates are rising about 3% each year. Americans born around 1990 - Millennials - are at double the risk of colon cancer than those born in 1950. Younger people are also more likely to be at a later stage of disease when diagnosed, making treatment more challenging and full recovery difficult.
The likely reasons? Obesity, unhealthy dietary choices and lack of exercise.
The best way to lower your risk, whether you’re a Millennial, Baby Boomer or Gen Xer, is to take care of your body and live a healthy lifestyle including:
The American Cancer Society recommends that screenings now start at 50, but if you have a family history of colon or rectal cancer, it’s recommended to start screenings even younger. If you have the risk factors above - are overweight, eat processed or fast foods, and are not physically active at least 3 times each week - ask your primary care physician about starting screenings as soon as possible.
For African-Americans, the American College of Gastroenterology recommends screenings begin at age 45. African-Americans are more likely to develop colon cancer before the age of 50, more likely to develop cancer at any age, and have the highest rate of death from colon cancer of any ethnic group.
Whatever your age, see Dr. Gaston immediately if you have:
Because March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month, we’re urging you to make your screening appointment now. Colon cancer is preventable!
Metropolitan Gastroenterology Consultants is an immaculate modern facility that has been awarded the Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval. Dr. Gaston uses the latest evidence-based technologies to ensure your colonoscopy gives the best results to keep you cancer-free. Call us at 708-238-1126 or click here to make an appointment today.