Open Accessibility Menu

Colon Cancer: Earlier Screening Guidelines

Colon Cancer: Earlier Screening Guidelines

Colon cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the large intestine, located at the end of the GI tract. Early cases of colon cancer begin with benign polyps that usually have no symptoms. Therefore, colonoscopy is recommended to screen for colon cancer and remove polyps before they transform into cancer.

Who needs a colonoscopy & when?

The American Cancer Society has updated their guidelines for colorectal cancer screening. Everyone should undergo screening at the age of 45 rather than 50. This lower age guideline is for people at average risk for colon cancer.

Those with a high risk for colorectal cancer may be recommended to start screening before the age of 45.

Situations that may define people as high risk:

  • Family history of colorectal cancer
  • Certain types of polyps
  • History of inflammatory bowel disease
  • History of radiation to the abdomen
  • History of hereditary syndrome such as Lynch syndrome

Contact your primary care physician to see if you are considered high risk for colon cancer.

How is it detected?

A colonoscopy is the best and most common screening test used to detect colon cancer in the large intestine. There are other options available for colon cancer screening. Patients may speak with their physician about other options.

Excela Health has an extensive gastroenterology service line. Gastroenterologists are physicians that specialize in the digestive tract, also called the gastrointestinal or GI tract, which includes the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, colon and rectum, pancreas, gallbladder, bile ducts, and liver. Symptoms like chronic bloating, indigestion, belly pain, feeling of fullness, gas, and burping may indicate a problem that can be addressed by a gastroenterologist.

How do I schedule a colonoscopy?

Speak with your primary care physician to obtain a referral or call Excela Health Gastroenterology directly at 724-836-5500.

Learn more here