45 is the New 50 For Colonoscopies

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Bob Hallinan

Executive Producer

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            The American Cancer Society has changed its colorectal cancer screening guidelines. The group said people should get a colonoscopy at age 45 instead of the previous recommendation of 50. Getting a colonoscopy may not be at the top of anyone’s to-do list, but it’s the most effective way to detect and, in many cases, stop the disease before it progresses.

            Dr. Raed Al-Rajabi is a medical oncologist at The University of Kansas Cancer Center, and he couldn’t agree more with the new recommendation. In the video, he explains how studies are showing a rise in colon and rectal cancer in younger patients, though doctors don’t yet know why. He says screenings have lowered the risk of dying by 30 percent, and it’s one cancer that can be prevented by early detection. He also talks about the risks and benefits of a colonoscopy, and the symptoms that should prompt an immediate call to a patient’s doctor.

            Also on the video,  Nikola Peterson, a colorectal cancer survivor. She says her disease was caught before she turned 50 thanks to early screenings mandated by a family history of the disease. She lost a good friend to colorectal cancer who was under 50, and says the early screening might have saved her life. Peterson says she used to take life for granted, but not anymore. She says since her chemotherapy and surgery, she’s feeling the best she’s felt in a long time. The video also shows her doing Pilates exercise routine.