Cancer screenings are a significant component to disease prevention and whole-body wellness. If you are reading this article, you have likely had at least one cancer screening before. Common cancer screenings, which are part of a routine physical examination, include screenings for the thyroid, mouth, lymph nodes, skin, ovaries and testicles.
Special tests for certain cancers are based on gender, age, family history and risk factors. Some of these cancers included breast cancer, prostate cancer, cervical cancer, lung cancer and colon cancer. Although organizations like the American Cancer Society have recommended ages for when average-risk individuals should be tested for each type of cancer, the baseline screening age can vary from individual to individual. This is especially true with colon cancer.
Colon cancer is the third-leading cause of cancer death in the United States among men and women. The risk of developing colon cancer is about 1 in 20, so knowing your individual risk is extremely important. Although the recommended age for a baseline colonoscopy is 50, this recommendation is only for people who are at average risk. The following factors will increase your individual risk for colon cancer, thereby lowering your age for a screening:
So how do you know when to schedule your first colonoscopy? StopColonCancerNow.com has designed a quiz called "What Age Should You Get a Colonoscopy?". This short quiz can serve as a guideline to help determine when you should have your first colonoscopy. We call this your “colonoscopy age.” The quiz also has a physician locator tool to assist you in finding a gastroenterologist in your area so you can be prepared when it is time to schedule your appointment.
Click here to take the quiz and determine your “colonoscopy age.”
This quiz should not replace a doctor’s recommendation. It is important to schedule regular visits to your primary care physician so you can discuss when to make your first appointment for a colonoscopy. If you notice any changes in your digestive or bowel habits, make an appointment with your doctor immediately.