Health experts update recommendations on when to start screening
Eau Claire and Chippewa Falls, Wis. – HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital and HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital are reminding community members about the importance of colon cancer screening as the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has updated its guidelines for colon cancer screening.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force now recommends adults age 45 to 75 be screened for colon cancer, and adults age 76 to 85 ask their doctor if they should be screened. Previously, it was recommended adults begin colon cancer screening at age 50. The reduction in age from 50 to 45 is in part due to new findings from USPSTF that an estimated 10.5% of new colorectal cancer cases occur in persons younger than 50 years. Colon cancer is the third leading cause of death for both men and women, with an estimated 52,980 people in the U.S. projected to die of colon cancer in 2021.
Colonoscopy is one of the most common and effective ways to screen for colon cancer.
“The earlier we can spot any signs of colon cancer or polyps, which are growths on the wall of the intestine, before they become cancerous is critical in the successful prevention and treatment of this type of cancer,” said HSHS radiology registered nurse, Michael Lucore. “If there’s a history of cancer in your family, it’s even more important to prioritize regular screenings.”
While most insurance carriers are approving colonoscopy coverage beginning at age 45, patients are highly encouraged to check with their insurance carrier to verify coverage. Increased risk patients may need earlier and more frequent screening depending upon recommendation by a health care provider.
People at an increased risk for colon cancer include:
- Those with a personal or family history of colorectal polyps or cancer
- Those with a personal history of breast, uterine or ovarian cancer
- Those with chronic ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease
In addition to regular screening for colon cancer, you may also be able to lower your risk by:
- Avoiding foods high in fat
- Adding plenty of vegetables, fruits and other high-fiber foods to your diet
- Exercising regularly and maintaining a normal body weight
- Not smoking
- Drinking alcohol only in moderation
Warning signs of colon cancer can include:
- Blood in or on the stool
- Recurrent shifts in normal bowel habits such as experiencing diarrhea or constipation for no known reason
- Thinning of the stool
- Increases in stomach discomfort (bloating, gas, fullness and/or cramps that last more than a few days)
- A feeling that the bowel does not empty completely
- Weight loss for no known reason
- Constant and unexplained fatigue
To schedule a colonoscopy with HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital in Eau Claire, please call (715) 717-4121; to schedule with HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital in Chippewa Falls, please call (715) 723-1811.
For more information about colon cancer screening, prevention and treatment, please visit the American Cancer Society website by clicking here.
About HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital
HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital is sponsored by Hospital Sisters Ministries, the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis is the Founding Institute, and it is an affiliate of Hospital Sisters Health System. Since 1889, it has been meeting patient needs in western Wisconsin with the latest medical innovations and technology, together with a Franciscan whole-person healing tradition.
About HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital
HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital is sponsored by Hospital Sisters Ministries, the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis is the Founding Institute, and it is an affiliate of Hospital Sisters Health System. Since 1885, it has served the people of the Chippewa Falls area with health care that is high tech and high touch. Known locally for the quality of the care it provides patients, the hospital has been recognized nationally for its outstanding patient satisfaction levels.
About Hospital Sisters Health System
Hospital Sisters Health System’s (HSHS) mission is to reveal and embody Christ’s healing love for all people through our high-quality Franciscan health care ministry. HSHS provides state-of-the-art health care to our patients and is dedicated to serving all people, especially the most vulnerable, at each of our physician practices and 15 local hospitals in two states – Illinois (Breese, Decatur, Effingham, Greenville, Highland, Litchfield, O’Fallon, Shelbyville and Springfield) and Wisconsin (Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire, Oconto Falls, Sheboygan and two in Green Bay). HSHS is sponsored by Hospital Sisters Ministries, and Hospital Sisters of St. Francis is the founding institute. For more information about HSHS, visit www.hshs.org. For more information about Hospital Sisters of St. Francis, visit www.hospitalsisters.org.