The Importance of Having a Screening Colonoscopy at Age 50

Besides skin cancer, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer found in both men and women in the United States. Screening colonoscopies can help prevent colorectal cancer and find it early. The American Cancer Society most recent estimates for the cases of colorectal cancer cases in the United States for 2012 are: 103,170 new cases of colon cancer and 40,290 new cases of rectal cancer. Less than 1 in 10 of these cases are found in patients who are 50 years or younger, and 1 in 20 are under the age of 45.

According to the American Cancer Society, “colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States when men and women are considered separately, and the second leading cause when both sexes are combined.” Colorectal cancer is estimated to cause around 51,690 deaths during 2012.

Having the recommend screening colonoscopies can help to prevent colorectal cancer. From the time the abnormal cells start to develop in polyps it usually takes about 10 to 15 years to advance to colorectal cancer. Screening colonoscopies can help find these colon polyps and remove them before they have the opportunity to turn into cancer. Screening colonoscopies can also diagnose colorectal cancer early while it is highly curable. There are more than 1 million survivors of colorectal cancer in the United States.

Individuals who have a family history of colorectal cancer or polyps, or other risk factors should talk to their doctor about having screening colonoscopies when they are younger than 50 years old and possibly having screenings more frequently.

1. “Colorectal Cancer Early Detection.” n.pag. American Cancer Society. Web. 16 Nov 2012.