What Your Colon Cancer Screening Could Miss

Date:29-10-2013 08:50:29 read:3

Are you at risk?

Talk about a major oversight. Current screening guidelines might miss about 10 percent of colorectal cancers in relatives of people with the disease, according to a new study in the journal Cancer.

Colonoscopies, which can detect and remove precancerous growths called polyps, are normally recommended every 10 years beginning at age 50—or at 40 if a first-degree relative had polyps or cancer before age 60.

But according to the research, direct relatives of patients with polyps face up to a 70 percent increased risk of colon cancer over their lifetime—regardless of the age of their family member at diagnosis.

It might not make for a comfortable conversation, but asking your relatives if they’ve had cancer—and whether they’ve had polyps removed—is important, says study author N. Jewel Samadder, M.D., M.Sc. Sharing this info with your doc can help him or her devise the best screening strategy.

And if you do have a family history, consider having your first colonoscopy even earlier: 10 years before the age your family member was when he or she had polyps or cancer. Repeat the procedure at least every 5 years, Dr. Samadder suggests.

    Ever For Health Copy Rights 2013