It is essential to remember the importance of screening, prevention and treatment of colorectal cancer. I always explain to my patients that the human body is like a car.
You have two options with your car: one is use it as much as you can and forget about it until it breaks apart. If you wait until then to seek a mechanic, you will pay a high price to repair it, if fixable. This happens when you ignore your colon health and colon cancer presents in advanced stages.
Your second option is taking your car in for preventive maintenance, oil changes, tire rotation, etc., every few thousand miles. The car is not failing but you want it to last longer so you work to preserve it. This is the reason you should consult your physician to start colorectal cancer screening at 45-years or in this case, when you reach 45,000 miles.
Of course, this is just an analogy. In the past, the recommended age to begin screenings was 50-years-old but now the American Cancer Society recommends starting at 45 years old if you have average risk. Those considered at average risk are those who do not have:
- A history of colorectal cancer or a specific type of polyps.
- A family history of colorectal cancer or a specific type of polyps.
- A family history of colorectal cancer.
- A family history of inflammatory bowel disease.
- A confirmed or suspected hereditary colorectal cancer syndrome.
- A history or receiving radiation to the abdomen or pelvic area to treat a prior cancer.
For those at an increased risk for colorectal cancer, discuss when and how often you should be screened with your doctor.
If your doctor has recommended a screening colonoscopy, don’t hesitate to contact my office.
Werner Andrade, MD, FACS, FASMBS
General, Minimally Invasive, Bariatric and Robotic Surgery
Medical Director, Bariatric Surgery Program – Hialeah Hospital
Medical Director, Robotic Assisted Surgery Program – Hialeah Hospital
Dr. Werner Andrade | Dr. Werner Andrade is a board-certified surgeon, specializing in general, bariatric and colorectal surgery. His areas of interest include minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery, robotic surgery, laparo-endoscopic single-site surgery, complex hernia repair and gastrointestinal interventional endoscopy. Dr. Andrade’s offices are located in Miami and Hialeah, FL.