Typically, we put off colonoscopies until after the age of 50, but the demographic for those affected by colorectal disease may be changing. For those younger than 50, a colonoscopy seems like something meant for older generations. Those who are reaching retirement age are the people who worry about their colons. Yes, those over 50 are at higher risk for developing colorectal issues, but recent studies suggest early screening can benefit those younger than 50 as well.
- Colorectal cancer occurrence has been on the rise in younger adults since the mid-1990s. Although occurrences have decreased overall, the typical demographic for those affected might be shifting (https://www.newsweek.com/colorectal-cancer-screening-colonsocopy-50-young-adults-648066). We aren’t sure why this change is occurring, but it may be due to a variety of factors like diet and family history. Getting a screening before 50 can help prevent major complications from colorectal cancer.
- Waiting until 50 can result in early occurrences going undiagnosed until too late. Often, younger people don’t consider getting a colonoscopy until the age of 50. A common misconception about the disease is that it only affects older populations. Colorectal cancer is more prevalent in those older than 50, but this doesn’t mean that it doesn’t younger populations as well (https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2647859). Modern advances make colorectal cancer treatable. Early colonoscopy screenings allow us to identify and treat the disease more effectively.
- Colorectal issues are highly treatable when diagnosed early. During a colonoscopy, physicians can check for any abnormalities and remove potentially cancerous polyps before they become an issue. Treatment strategies are increasingly becoming more effective, but these strategies can only be implemented after the issues have been diagnosed effectively.
Colorectal issues are often treatable if diagnosed early enough and colonoscopies are the most effective diagnosis tool that we have. Our experienced physicians at Gastroenterology of Greater Orlando are happy to talk with you about the options for early colonoscopy screenings. Until then, feel free to learn more from our services page (http://greaterorlandogi.com/services/colonoscopy/).