Why 45 Is the New 50: Learn About Changes in Colonoscopy Recommendations


Regardless of whether they've had one, many people know that 50 is the prime age for colonoscopy screenings. Most healthcare providers advise that their patients have an initial colonoscopy exam at age 50 and every ten years following that. New research shows, however, that you should arrange to undergo your initial colonoscopy screening even before this time in life.

When should you begin getting colonoscopy procedures, and why has this timeframe changed? Connecticut GI is here to answer all of your questions. Our board-certified gastroenterologists can provide detailed information on what you should anticipate during a colonoscopy, when to get one, and more.

Why screen for colon cancer sooner?

For years, we’ve heard that turning 50 marks the time when we should start screening exams for colon and rectal cancer. But new studies show that perhaps we should start screening for the disease even sooner – at age 45. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) are advising this. In addition, a number of insurance companies, including Medicare, have augmented their plans to begin covering colonoscopy exams at this earlier age.

Much of what has initiated this change results from a growth in colon cancer diagnoses among younger adults. Between 2008 and 2017, the death rate among people aged 55 and younger grew by 1%. Such a rise is a bit alarming since the all-around colon and rectal cancer rates declined within that particular period.

In keeping with these new revelations, our Connecticut GI colonoscopy doctors suggest having a colon cancer screening with our gastroenterology team when you turn 45 years of age.

Why are colonoscopy exams essential?

Most of us are likely aware that undergoing screenings for colorectal cancer is essential as we age. This is because colon cancer can be identified very early and even avoided with periodic exams. Whether a family member has had colorectal cancer, you've experienced colon cancer, or you’re over that “prime age,” colonoscopy screenings are a central component of preserving your general health.

Taking less than an hour to perform, these screenings permit our physicians to gain a close-up, clear view of your colon. During this exam, we can assess for areas of concern and excise colorectal polyps, which can be sent to a laboratory for testing. By extracting and testing colorectal polyps, we hope to find colon cancer in an early stage, if not prevent it from occurring altogether.

What are the risk factors for colon and rectal cancer?

Now that you know when you should start having screenings for colon cancer, what factors increase your chance of developing this disease? Some common risk factors for colorectal cancer development involve:

  • Use of tobacco products
  • An inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease
  • Poor diet, or a diet high in fat and low in vegetables, fruits, and fiber
  • Previous radiation treatments to the abdomen or pelvis
  • Insufficient amounts of exercise
  • Family history of colorectal cancer

In the event you have any of the factors mentioned above, we advise reaching out to one of our Connecticut GI locations as early as possible to learn if you are a candidate for a colonoscopy.

Get a colonoscopy screening in Connecticut

We recognize that the idea of scheduling a colonoscopy might seem unappealing, but this fast, commonly performed, vital examination could possibly save your life. If you’re 45 years old or soon to be, please contact Connecticut GI to schedule a colonoscopy. At our modern gastroenterology centers throughout Connecticut, we do our best to make these tests as quick and comfortable as possible. Our knowledgeable team will be pleased to assist you should you need help determining your insurance coverage for this exam.

Find Your Nearest Location