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Iowans with Family History of Colon Cancer Should Get Screened Sooner

Posted: Tuesday, March 20th, 2018 at 6:20 am
Author: KCII News - Sam McIntosh

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month in Iowa, and though having a colonoscopy sounds like something reserved only for those over 50, a screening is recommended for some younger adults as well.

Physician Assistant Rebecca Kuehn with Mercy Family Medicine of Kalona advises those with a family history of colon cancer, “If you have a family member, brother, sister, parent who’s had colon cancer or colon polyps at a younger age, you start screening 10 years before them. So if your father was diagnosed with colon cancer at 52 you should get your first colonoscopy at 42.”

According to the Iowa Department of Public health many people diagnosed with colon cancer often have no symptoms, and those with polyps, small growths in the colon which can become cancerous if not removed, might not show symptoms either. For those without a family history of colon cancer a colonoscopy is recommended for all Iowans at the age of 50. Those with a family history of polyps or colon cancer should talk with their health care provider about screening before the age of 50.