Recommendations to start screening colonoscopies even younger than 50 are so new that they may not be covered by your insurance provider. Millennium Physician Group Gastroenterologist Julian Sison, D.O., explains the benefits of screening earlier and why the recommendations changed.
“We’ve been seeing a lot more patients younger and younger get diagnosed with either large colorectal polyps and even colorectal cancer,” he says.
Colonoscopies remain the gold standard for colorectal cancer screening, but there are other options that could let you skip, or at least postpone, the invasive procedure.
“There are also other modalities for screening for colon cancer,” says Dr. Sison. “They include Cologuard, which is a stool DNA test. And there’s also a fecal occult blood test.”
These at-home tests are more convenient, but they do require more frequent screening. And if you get a positive result, you’ll need a follow-up colonoscopy.
“During the time of the colonoscopy, we do search for colon polyps, which again can be precancerous growths and we want to remove those,” explains Dr. Sison. “We want to be proactive so that those pre-cancerous growths don’t turn into something more malignant down the road.”
In fact, researchers agree with proper screening, colorectal cancer is one of the most preventable cancers.