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TUESDAY, March 26, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Colon cancer is highly preventable through regular screening. But the right type of screening depends on your particular risk factors, an expert says.
"We've begun to notice the incidence of colorectal cancer decreasing in the past few years, and we believe that is partly due to screening," Clarke said in a center news release.
Most people at average risk should start getting screened at age 50, but black people should start screening at age 45, Clarke said.
Average risk means there is no family or personal history of polyps, colon cancer or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and no history of abdominal radiation as a child or radiation treatment for prostate cancer.
Colonoscopy -- the gold standard -- is recommended every 10 years. It allows doctors to view the inside of the colon and remove any polyps or abnormal findings for further testing. A less invasive option is virtual colonoscopy, a CT scan of the colon. It should be done once every five years.
"But if the test detects polyps, you will still need a colonoscopy to have them examined," Clarke said.
People at high risk for colon cancer should have a colonoscopy once every five years and preferably should not use the other screening options, Clarke advised.
"For those with a family history of colorectal cancer, we recommend they start screenings at either age 40 or five years before their family member was diagnosed," Clarke said. People with IBD should begin screening after eight years with the condition.
If you're uncertain about your colon cancer risk level, talk with your doctor.
-- Robert Preidt
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