- It is recommended that asymptomatic individuals at the age of 50 begin screening colonoscopy.
- Colonoscopy is also warranted at any age if symptoms persist or develop. (Symptoms include change in bowel habits, unexplained weight loss, abdominal pain etc…).
- Starting screening colonoscopy at the appropriate interval is important to ensure the best possible outcome. Some of the screening criteria set forth by the Canadian Association of Gastroenterology include:
- If an individual has a first degree relative (parent, sibling or child) with colon cancer or polyps before the age of 60 or has 2 or more first degree relatives affected with colon cancer or polyps at any age, colonoscopies should commence at the age of 40 or 10 years earlier than the youngest diagnosed individual.
- If an individual has a first degree relative affected with either colon cancer or polyps at an age greater than 60; or has 2 or more second degree relatives affected with colon cancer or polyps at any age, current recommendations is to begin screening at age 40 (screening measure could include Fecal Occult Flood Test (FOBT), X-ray, endoscopy or a combination.
- One second degree relative affected with colon cancer or polyps at any age warrants screening by means of either colonoscopy or FOBT at age 50.
- Other factors which an individual has complete control over and can assist in preventing colon cancer include:
- Diet- maintaining a diet which is high in fruits and vegetables and low in fat and red meat
- Lifestyle- lose excess weight, exercise regularly, quit smoking cigarettes
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