You Should Get Screened for This Cancer Earlier Than You Thought

A government task force just updated its recommendations on the age you should start getting tested.

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When actor Chadwick Boseman died from colon cancer in Aug. 2020, the tragic news was something of a wake-up call to the medical community and everyday people, too. Boseman was only 43 when he died, yet the official recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is for men and women to start getting colon cancer screenings at age 50. While Boseman had been diagnosed several years before his death, his is a fairly unique case. The truth is, most people aren't diagnosed until they start getting screened at age 50, and, according to many experts, that's often too late. In hopes of catching the cancer earlier, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended on Oct. 27 that adults should start routine screenings at age 45, The New York Times reports.

Though they are still finalizing the shift, once it is done, the recommendation will be adopted by doctors, insurance companies, and policy makers.

According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), while the majority of colon cancer cases are still found in people age 50 and older, 12 percent of the 147,950 cases—about 18,000—expected to be diagnosed this year will be found in individuals younger than 50. In fact, the ACS has recommended that colon cancer screenings for "average-risk adults" start at age 45 since 2018. Read on to discover some common colon cancer risk factors that you need to know, and for another cancer to be on the lookout for, These Are the Warning Signs of Lymphoma You Need to Know.

1
Obesity

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If you are overweight, one thing you can do to lower your risk of colon cancer is shed some of those extra pounds. According to the Mayo Clinic: "People who are obese have an increased risk of colon cancer and an increased risk of dying of colon cancer when compared with people considered normal weight." And if you need some help on that front, here's The One Secret Trick to Losing Weight You Haven't Tried, Study Says.

2
Diabetes

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Type 2 diabetes and colon cancer share similar risk factors, such as being overweight and physically inactive. However, those risk factors aside, "people with type 2 diabetes still have an increased risk of [colon cancer]," the ACS says. "They also tend to have a less favorable prognosis (outlook) after diagnosis." And to keep this deadly disease at bay, here are 17 Habits Proven to Prevent Prevent Diabetes.

3
Existing intestinal issues

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Like diabetes, having inflammatory diseases of the colon, such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, can increase your risk of colon cancer, the Mayo Clinic says. And for more helpful health information delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

4
Sedentary lifestyle

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One of the most unhealthy things you can do is live a sedentary lifestyle. The number of problems doing so causes is endless and, according to the Mayo Clinic, that includes an increased risk for colon cancer. And for more on the risks of not standing enough, check out This Is What Happens to Your Body When You Sit All Day.

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