Your first colon cancer checkup should be sooner than doctors previously suggested

David Madden
May 30, 2018 - 10:01 pm

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MARLTON, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — New guidelines from the American Cancer Society have determined when you should start regular screenings to guard against colon cancer. 

Avi Galler, a colorectal surgeon with the Virtua Surgical Group, said the rule of thumb has been to get your first colonoscopy at age 50. But experts have noticed a disturbing trend.

"We're seeing more and more young people, people under the age of 50, with colon cancer," Galler said. "And they decided to increase the guidelines down to 45."

Many hesitate to get the exam, mostly because of the prep work needed to clean the colon the night before. 

Galler said that process is far less strenuous these days. But he does offer one suggestion, particularly if you are under 50: Make sure your health care plan is up-to-date.

"I would imagine that, now that the guidelines have been expanded, that it should be covered," he added. "But you're going to have to check with your individual insurance policy and provider to see what they do and do not cover."

He says some companies might need some time to catch up with the new national recommendations.