Doctors are now recommending patients to get a colonoscopy at age 45

Published: Mar. 14, 2023 at 3:49 PM CDT
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SIOUX CITY (KTIV) - Doctors are now saying you should get your first colonoscopy at the age of 45 instead of 50.

An increase in colon cancer diagnoses in younger patients is the reason for the new recommendation.

By screening, doctors say they can remove polyps much sooner. That has been shown to lower rates of morbidity and mortality over the past 20 to 30 years.

”Over the years, we’ve had more literature come in that people are having colon cancer and larger polyps even at the age of 50, 48, and even into their late 30s. Therefore just last year it changed to 45,” said Dr. Jeffery Michalak, a gastroenterologist and hepatologist for MercyOne.

The procedure itself is pretty straightforward. The day before your screening, you are on a clear liquid diet. The colonoscopy takes 10 to 20 minutes, and you could leave about 30 minutes later.

”Colonoscopy is actually a very simple procedure, you do the prep and then you come in and get minimal sedation, and you’re able to take these polyps out in the colon and cut on the inside and therefore there’s really no surgery as we’re removing these polyps before they become metastatic or inoperable,” said Michalak.

Family doctors do know the guidelines have changed and can let you know when you’re due for your colonoscopy.