Healthy Living: New study makes case for earlier colon cancer screenings
The general colon cancer screening recommendation for both sexes is to start at age 50, but a new study seems to suggest men should go first and earlier. YNN's Kafi Drexel filed the following report.
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An Austrian study looking at colonoscopy screenings of more than 40,000 men and women might get more doctors and patients thinking once again about the way we do things here.
In the study, men had a higher rate of advanced tumors, developing cancer about five to 10 years earlier than women. Because of that, researchers on the study say that seems to suggest the initial screening age should be gender-specific with men going first. Some doctors say that's not an unreasonable conclusion.
"If we adopted our screening practices based on this single individual study we would say that men should be screened at roughly age 45 and women should be screened at roughly age 50," said Director of Gastroenterology at Lenox Hill Hospital Dr. Gregory Haber.
Haber points out women still have a higher risk for developing some colon cancers not caught by routine screening. Haber also suggested screening guidelines are already five years earlier for both male and female black Americans because of higher colon cancer rates.
So some of the big questions out of this might also be how might these latest findings and recommendations impact already existing guidelines for women and the race specific recommendations as well.
"I think we have to realize that this study is addressing a particular demographic. So I would say this should not change our current recommendations for black Americans which would be to have a screening colonoscopy at the age of 45," Haber said.
"We don't want to miss anybody based on this study, but just food for thought that maybe women don't need to be screened as early as men. I think it would be hard to get women to agree to that," said Dr. Franklin Marsh of the Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care and Prevention.
Doctors agree before a study influences any new change in guidelines, there's still also more research needed.