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New ACS Guidelines

When is the right time to have your first colonoscopy?

For years, there was an easy answer to that question. For people of average risk, turning 50 meant it was time to make that appointment. But further research has revealed that more people are dying of colorectal cancers in their early 50s, deaths that could often have been prevented had screening taken place earlier. Remember, 90 percent of deaths from colorectal cancer can be prevented with good screening. By law, insurance covers screening colonoscopies for those who are at least 50 at 100 percent.

The American Cancer Society now recommends that screening for people of average risk should begin at age 45. Having a screening colonoscopy at age 45 allows doctors to catch and remove pre-cancerous polyps early. However, it’s important for patients to understand that a screening colonoscopy at age 45 may not be covered at 100 percent, though it may well be covered at a lesser level.

We believe that insurance companies and governmental regulations will catch up to the American Cancer Society in time. Until then, we’d encourage those of average risk who are 45 to talk to their insurance companies.

For those of higher risk, earlier and more extensive screenings are already recommended.

For more information, contact us.