Why 45 Is the New 50: Changes in Colonoscopy Recommendations


Whether they've had a screening or not, many people understand that 50 is the prime age for colonoscopies. The majority of physicians suggest that adults have their first colonoscopy screening when they turn 50 and then every ten years after that. New research indicates, however, that you should arrange to have your initial colonoscopy screening even before this time in life.

So, when should you start getting colonoscopy procedures, and why the change? Gastroenterology Associates of Florida is here to answer all of your questions. Our gastrointestinal doctors perform colonoscopies on patients throughout the Palm Beach County area, and can provide information on what to anticipate when having a colonoscopy, when to have them, and more.

Begin screening sooner?

In previous years, we’ve heard that turning 50 marks the time when we should begin screening exams for colorectal cancer. But current studies show that we should probably start these screenings even earlier – upon turning 45. As a matter of fact, the USPSTF (United States Preventive Services Task Force) and the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) are recommending it. In addition, a number of insurance companies, including Medicare, have augmented their policies to begin covering colonoscopy exams at this younger age.

Much of what initiated this update comes from an elevation in the number of colon cancer diagnoses in younger individuals. Between 2008 and 2017, the death rate among people 55 and younger rose by 1%. This increase comes as a bit of a shock given that the all-around colon and rectal cancer rates actually dropped within that particular period of time.

In support of these recent discoveries, the colonoscopy doctors at Gastroenterology Associates of Florida s suggest having a colon cancer screening with our GI team upon turning 45 years of age.

Why are colonoscopy screenings important for your health?

Most people are probably aware that undergoing screenings for colorectal cancer is important as they advance in age. This is because colorectal cancer can be diagnosed early on and often prevented with these regular exams. Regardless of whether someone in your family has experienced colorectal cancer, you have experienced this disease, or you are over that “magic number,” colonoscopy exams are an essential aspect of managing your overall health.

Taking about 15 – 30 minutes to complete, these screenings allow our providers to gain a clear, close-up view of your colon. When providing this exam, we can look for areas of concern and remove any colon polyps, which can then be sent to a laboratory for in-depth evaluation. By removing any polyps, our objective is to find colon cancer while it's in an early stage, if not prevent it altogether.

What are the risk factors for colon and rectal cancer?

Now that you know when you should begin having screenings for colon cancer, what factors increase your chance of developing this disease? Some common risk factors for colon and rectal cancer include the following:

  • Lack of physical activity
  • Poor nutrition, or a diet high in fatty foods and low in fiber, vegetables, and fruits
  • Family history
  • Previous radiation treatments to the abdomen or pelvis
  • Tobacco use
  • An inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis

Please contact your nearest Gastroenterology Associates of Florida location if you have any of the risk factors listed above. Our team can help you to determine if and when you should have a colonoscopy.

Get your colonoscopy screening in Palm Beach County, FL

We know the thought of a colonoscopy screening might make you squirm; however, this quick, commonly performed, vital evaluation could potentially be life-saving. Whether you’re 45 or older, we urge you to get in touch with Gastroenterology Associates of Florida to request a colonoscopy consultation. At our state-of-the-art gastroenterology centers in Wellington, Atlantis, and Jupiter, FL, we strive to make these tests as fast and comfortable as possible. If you require assistance determining if your colonoscopy is covered by your insurance plan, our caring team will be more than happy to assist.

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