Colon Cancer Screening Discussion
Patient was advised that a baseline colonoscopy is recommended to screen for colorectal cancer. This is a very common disease and the third most common cancer in the US. Prevention is accomplished by screening asymptomatic individuals. The average American has a 6% risk for colon cancer, and this number is nearly doubled if there is a strong family history of this disease. However, the majority of patients diagnosed with this disease have no immediate family members with colon cancer. The current recommendation is to start screening at age 50 (or age 40 for those with with first degree relative diagnosed with colon cancer before age 60). SInce 97% of colorectal cancer starts as a polyp, the process can be interrupted and a colonoscopy is a vital tool in the prevention of colon cancer. It was explained to the patient that recommendation for a subsequent colonoscopy are based on the endoscopic and pathological results of this exam and will be discussed when these are available.