Age 50 is well known as the benchmark for when to get screened for colon cancer assuming normal health circumstances. This screening period generally starts at age 50 and then continues periodically until age 75. Needless to say, it’s highly recommended that people follow these general guidelines for screening to detect any abnormalities as a preventative method for colorectal cancer.
That said, there are exceptions to the 50 rule. Depending on certain health factors, it might be more beneficial to get screened earlier than age 50 or even 45.
So when does it make sense to start early?
Here are some situations where your risk would warrant an earlier screening.
If Your Family Has a History of Colorectal Cancer
Not unlike other medical risk factors (such as high blood pressure), a history of colorectal cancer suggests an early screening might be beneficial. This depends largely on the age of the family member(s) was at diagnosis. If your family member was diagnosed before the age of 50 or you’ve had multiple family members with colorectal cancer, early screening is recommended.
You’ve Been Diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis
If you suffer from inflammatory bowel disease, your risk of colorectal cancer is much higher and it’s highly recommended that you get screened before the recommended age. You should continue to receive regular testing after your initial screening to ensure that no abnormalities have developed.
Your Family Has a History of Inflammatory Bowel Disease
While not cancer, a family history of inflammatory bowel disease suggests that hereditary bowel risks might exist. Even though this isn’t cancer outright, it’s still a warning sign that could warrant an early screening.
You’ve Received Radiation to the Abdomen
If you’ve ever had radiation in the abdominal area from different cancer treatment, even if not colorectal cancer, you would still be at a higher risk of developing colorectal cancer. It’s recommended that those with a history of other cancers in the abdomen who’ve undergone any form of radiation therapy get an earlier colon screening than normal and follow up more often than is usually recommended.
Schedule a Colon Scan
Advanced Body Scan of Tulsa offers a variety of scans for the heart, lungs, and colon, among others. All scans are minimally invasive and take only a few minutes to complete, but can be crucial to detecting early signs of disease and working towards healthy outcomes. To schedule or ask about a scan, visit our website or call us at 918.879.6161.