Colon cancer is the 3rd leading cancer among men and women and we are seeing a rise in younger people between the ages of 45-49. This rise has led to a change in guidelines for colon cancer screening to provide earlier detection of colon cancer. Previously, we would start screening for colon cancer at age 50 who are considered average risk (no family history of colon cancer). However, new guidelines recommend that we start screening at the age of 45. If colon cancer is caught in the early stages it is treatable in about 90% of people!

A big barrier to colon cancer screening is usually the dreaded colonoscopy; however; there are new tests that we can do besides a colonoscopy. Cologuard is a non-invasive screening test that looks at certain DNA markers and blood in the stool. In studies it found 92% of all colon cancers, so is a highly accurate screening modality. If you have no family history of colon cancer or gastrointestinal issues this could be a great screening option. 

Schedule an appointment for your wellness exam and you can ask your provider about colon cancer screening options to ensure you are up to date on this screening. At your wellness your provider will also go over your other health screenings, such as cholesterol, mammograms, cervical and prostate screening so schedule your wellness today!

Megan Reed is a Nurse Practitioner with Active Family Healthcare. She is currently taking new patients.