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American Cancer Society: Screen earlier for colorectal cancer

Like many people in Illinois and across the country, you may worry about getting cancer. Therefore, you make sure to schedule your screening checkups at the appropriate times. While you are approaching middle age, you may think you don’t have to worry yet about getting a colonoscopy or other routine exams that screen for colon and rectal cancers, since these cancers are not known to run in your family. However, the American Cancer Society has recently changed its guidelines on the age to start screening for colorectal cancer.

More people are being diagnosed with colorectal cancer at younger ages, warn health experts from the American Cancer Society. Additionally, there is an increase in Americans dying of the disease. About 50,000 new patients in the U.S. may die from colorectal cancer in 2018. The longstanding recommendation for starting annual screening tests for colorectal cancer has been the age of 50, but health care professionals from the ACS and elsewhere are now recommending you and others with an average risk of developing the disease to start screening at age 45 – or earlier if you have a family history of colorectal cancer.

American lifestyle may contribute to risk of cancer

Why are more Americans suffering from the disease? Many doctors suspect the increase in colorectal cancer among younger people correlates with an increase in sedentary lifestyles and obesity, as well as the prevalence of processed foods. Some experts disagree that most people younger than 50 should begin screening tests. Your physician may be one of them or may be unaware of the ACS’s new recommendation. This might result in a missed diagnosis when timely diagnosis and treatment are crucial.

Being informed and active in your medical care might save your life

Numerous symptoms are associated with colorectal cancer, including rectal bleeding, a change in bowel habits lasting more than a few days and abdominal pain or cramping. If you notice these symptoms or feel like something is off, it may be wise to request a screening appointment from your doctor.

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