Colon cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths among men. Despite this, talks of screening, treatment, and so on very rarely come up in common health recommendations. This is especially problematic due to the silent but deadly nature of cancer. Oftentimes, it has no symptoms initially; however, the further it progresses, the more difficult it becomes to treat. Because as of yet there is no surefire, commonly available cure for cancer, every second counts when it comes to getting treatment. Since this is the case, why are we waiting so long to begin screening for cancer?
For the most part, it is not until later in life that men get checked for colon cancer. Typically, the 50th birthday is the first check for it; however, colon cancer does not always wait until then to strike. In fact, new research is suggesting that men should be getting checked for colon cancer much sooner than 50 years of age; checks five or 10 years before the current standard examination can prove beneficial at catching colon cancer before it progresses to a more dangerous stage.
The study, which was unveiled at the 25th United European Gastroenterology Week in Barcelona, consisted of over 6,000 colonoscopies that had been conducted in France. These results were then broken down into groups based on the participant’s age at the time of the procedure. This revealed startling information: Once the participants had reached 45 years of age, there came a sudden and significant rise in the number of colon abnormalities found among them. In effect, at least five years before a colonoscopy is “due” to be conducted, some of these men were already showing signs of potential colon cancer.
One of the abnormal findings was the presence of colon polyps. As the name implies, they are small clumps of cell growth that appear within the colon. Left unchecked, they may sometimes become cancerous. Between the group of those aged 40 to 44 and the group of 45 to 49-year-olds, the occurrence of such abnormalities doubled. This is a significant jump, especially compared to the much smaller jump between the 45 to 49 group and the 50 to 54 group, which was only a difference of about 20% more in favor of those over 50.