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Colon Cancer Screenings Should Start Earlier

The guidelines are changing for the age at which people should begin getting screened for colon cancer, which is the third most common cancer in Iowa and the second leading cause of cancer death. March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month, and Dr. Samir Shah, president of the American College of Gastroenterology, says screenings should now start at age 45, not 50.

Beginning the screenings five years earlier raises the chances of survival if cancer is found. He says studies are finding that late-stage colon and rectal cancers are increasing dangerously among younger people.

For Iowans who would prefer not to start with the colonoscopy, there are other options to screen for the disease.

Research shows people younger than 40 experienced the steepest rise in advanced cases of late-stage colon and rectal cancers between 2000 and 2016. Shah says starting screening at age 45 improves the chances of finding polyps and cancers sooner and hopefully preventing late-stage disease and death.


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