Doc Talk | Screening for colon cancer

You may think colon cancer is more common among men, but doctors say that's a common misconception. Both men and women should be checked for the disease.

"Its almost as common in women as it is in men," said Dr. Heather Thieme, a surgeon at Geisinger Holy Spirit.

Colon cancer impacts four to five percent of the population.

"It really shouldn't be thought of as a men's disease. Women should be screened at the same rates at men are," said Dr. Thieme.

It's the fourth most common cancer. But, the good news is it's a preventable cancer with the help of greater awareness and medical technology.

"When we use colonoscopies actually prevent the cancer from happening," explained Dr. Thieme. "But really a colonoscopy is to remove polyps that could eventually turn into a cancer."

The screening has actually dropped colon cancer rates in recent years for baby boomers. Now, it's the younger crow that is seeing an uptick in cases.

"The American Cancer Society is now recommending them at age 45 for screening to start," said Dr. Thieme.

Along with an early screening, changing your lifestyle can also prevent some cases.

"People who eat processed meats are at higher risk, smokers are two to three times risk for colon cancer," explained Dr. Thieme.

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