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Delaying Colonoscopy Screening May Affect Your Risk of Colorectal Cancer

The current colorectal cancer screening guidelines recommend that you should start screening at age 45 to 50 then once every 10 years if the results show negative.

A new study suggests that a delay in having a colonoscopy may not affect cancer risk for people at low risk.

Researchers analyzed men and women of 50 – 66 years who had been screened once with negative results. Seventeen years later, the participants had a 72% lower rate of colon cancer and an 81% lower rate of death, which wasn’t so different from the results obtained 10 years earlier or before.

These findings, however, pertains to those without polyps or any other lesions, whether benign or malignant, during their first colonoscopy. These people also have a low risk of colon cancer.

The results do not apply to patients with inflammatory bowel conditions, family history of colorectal cancer, or any other factor that increases the high risk of the disease.

Most importantly, the research findings depend on the high-quality colonoscopy carried out by an expert endoscopist on patients with adequate bowel preparations.

The team, however, noted that it’s not possible to achieve zero risks. But if a patient has a negative colonoscopy and their bowel was adequately prepared before the screening test, and if their colonoscopy was performed by a skilled endoscopist, then they are at very low risk of developing colorectal cancer for at least 17 years.

To ensure you stay healthy and free from colorectal cancer risk, you should focus on prevention and follow the screening guidelines. You must understand that colorectal cancer develops over long periods of time, and their causes are complex. The disease shows no symptoms at early stages.

Getting a colonoscopy can help detect your cancer early. Colonoscopy also allows doctors to remove precancerous polyps at the same time of screening.

Apart from getting screened, staying active, eating healthy, and limiting alcohol intake are some of the many factors that will significantly impact your risk for colorectal cancer.

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