An In-Depth Look at the Colon (3:37)
It has long been believed that 50 is the appropriate age to get your first colonoscopy. But the American Cancer Society says this is no longer true -- 45 is the magic number. On May 30, 2018, it was announced that based off of continued research the best age to start looking after your colon is 45.
A colonoscopy is an examination of your colon to detect if there are any irregularities that could cause concern and require further testing. This test is good to have on a semi-frequent basis when reaching your mid-40s to ensure you are healthy and catch any potential signs of colon cancer early on. According to the American Cancer Society, with the exception of skin cancers, colon (or colorectal) cancer "is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States." Through their research, they have surmised that 1 in 22 men and 1 in 24 women have the risk of developing this cancer over their lifetime.
While family history can impact your potential risk for cancer, there are other factors that could result in the development of colorectal cancer. Risk factors include, but are not limited to obesity, poor diet, smoking, alcohol consumption, or a bowel disorder like IBS.
If you have any of these risk factors, are 45 or older, and have never had a colonoscopy before you should make an appointment with your primary care doctor to discuss.