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Health First | New guidelines for colorectal cancer screening

You may have heard the American Cancer Society has updated the guidelines for colorectal cancer screening.

The new recommendations say screening should begin at age 45 instead of age 50.

Dr. Pardeep Bansal is the chair of the Gastroenterology Department at Regional and Moses Taylor Hospitals.

He says the new American Cancer Society recommendation that lowers colorectal screening from age 50 to 45 is a significant development.

“Not only in the US but more important in NEPA because incidence and prevalence of colon cancer is high in our area and we’re not sure why compared to the U.S,” said Dr. Bansal.

The blame for that has been put on poor diet, obesity and other risk factors. Dr. Bansal says there is an increase in colon cancer in ages ranging from 25 to 50. But even with that, in the 30 years since people have been getting at age 50, the incidence in that screened population has gone down.

“So since we are seeing more in younger age group and if we start to screen people early, we can see, detect and cure early,” according to Dr. Bansal.

With the new guidelines in place, the hope is that more people will make their colonoscopy appointments and because of that, Commonwealth Health is putting program in place to train internal medicine doctors to become GI doctors.

GI doctors like Dr. Bansal have extensive training in diseases that affect the digestive system. And he’s hoping that with more doctors on board and the new guidelines in place, more lives can be spared from colon cancer.

In the United States, colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths among cancers that affect both men and women, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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