Congratulations! Colon cancer screening rates in Kentucky have reached 70%! This is a truly wonderful achievement, but there is still much work to be done. Our goal is to reach 80% statewide in 2018 and ensure that no county is below 70%.
There are some other small things that YOU can do to help prevent colon cancer or catch it ON TIME. But first, do you know what we mean when we say on time? The American Cancer Society guidelines changed this year to recommend screening at age 45 vs 50. Because we are seeing many colon cancer patients in their 30’s and 40’s, we need to start the conversation much sooner and apply lifestyle changes even earlier. Incidence in colon cancer is increasing in younger adults. People born after 1990 are twice as likely to develop colon cancer and four times as likely to develop rectal cancer compared to people born around 1950.
By age 40, but preferably earlier, both patients and providers should engage in the initial discussion regarding individualized colon cancer prevention and early detection. This intervention should include four parts:
1. Review family history regarding colon cancer, adenomas, other associated cancers or conditions which may require colon cancer screening EARLIER than age 45.
2. Review the signs and symptoms of colon cancer.
3. Review the importance of on-time screening for normal risk individuals starting at age 45, and discussion of screening options.
4. Have a discussion about evidence-based lifestyle modifications to reduce colon cancer incidence, including weight loss, smoking cessation, increased exercise, and dietary changes.
Much great work has been done in the state of Kentucky, but we can do better. YOU are an integral part of this puzzle! YOU can prevent colon cancer for yourself and encourage your loved ones to do the same! Help us to raise screening rates to at least 80% to end preventable colon cancer death and suffering.
Thank you for kicking butt!
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