Reading This Could Save Your (Or a Loved One’s) Life
The American Cancer Society has updated its colorectal cancer screening guidelines, based in part on fresh research from the University of Minnesota. If you're in your mid-40s, it looks like it's time for a colonoscopy.
The age of 50 has long been the general guideline for recommended first colonoscopy -- but today that was changed to 45. In the United States, colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths. (Good news, it's also one of the most preventable).
Why is this a big deal to me? At the age of 36, I was diagnosed with stage-three colorectal cancer (long before the recommended age for screening). I am here to tell you that you would much prefer finding colorectal cancer early (or at a pre-cancer stage) through routine screening -- instead of because you're experiencing symptoms. Your life could depend on it.
I was 'symptoms' guy because I was young -- which resulted in surgery, radiation, chemotherapy (and numerous more surgeries due to collateral damage from radiation). Sure the radiation did damage, but I'm also here able to tell you about it. (And trust me, that's the SHORT version.)
I frequently hear from co-workers that they put off a colonoscopy because they are freaked out or afraid of the procedure. Trust me when I tell you it's probably the easiest medical thing you will ever go through. You'll likely be knocked out. There's NOTHING to it.
My point is that everything I went through could mostly be avoided through regular, recommended screening. Don't go through what I went through. Get your colonoscopy!
It's also worth mentioning that the new guidelines are for people with 'average' risk. If you have a family history of colorectal cancer or other elevating factors, you'll likely want to get screened earlier and more often. BEST BET? Talk to your doctor.
Go forth. Be healthy. Live well. Get screened!