New recommendations encourage colon cancer screenings to begin at age 45

Green Bay – HSHS St. Vincent, St. Mary’s, St. Nicholas and St. Clare Memorial Hospitals, along with Prevea Health, recognize Colon Cancer Awareness Month in March and remind all about an important update in colon cancer screening recommendations announced late last year. 

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) and the American Cancer Society now recommend adults age 45 to 75 be screened for colon cancer, and adults age 76 to 85 consult with 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 due to findings from USPSTF that an estimated 10.5% of new colorectal cancer cases occur in persons younger than 50 years. 

Dr. Chaitanya Pant, gastroenterologist at Prevea Health in Appleton and Green Bay, stated that by lowering the age for screening examinations, doctors will be able to identify a greater number of colon cancer cases at an earlier stage or even before they turn into cancer.

“We have noted that the overall risks of developing colon cancer have come down significantly in the past 30 years, however, in the 40-to-50-year age group they’re actually going up by 1 or 2 percent a year,” says Dr. Pant. “By screening people for colon cancer when they’re in their mid-40’s, we may be able to mitigate this trend.”

Colonoscopy, the most common and effective way to screen for colon cancer, is provided by Prevea Health gastroenterologists at four hospitals throughout Eastern Wisconsin: HSHS St. Vincent Hospital and HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital Medical Center in Green Bay; HSHS St. Nicholas Hospital in Sheboygan; and HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital in Oconto Falls. To schedule a colonoscopy with Prevea Health in Green Bay and Oconto Falls, please call (920) 429-1700; and in Sheboygan, please call (920) 457-4400.

“The earlier we can spot any signs of colon cancer that may be present or in its pre-cancerous stages, the better chance we have of eliminating it and keeping you healthy and safe,” said Dr. Marla Wolfert, gastroenterologist at Prevea Health in Sheboygan. “While a colonoscopy remains the most accurate test to detect early signs of cancer, Prevea continues to offer other screenings as well.” 

Medical experts regard colonoscopy as the gold standard for colon cancer screening. For more information about all colon cancer screening services with Prevea Health, please click here. 

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 2022. 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

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About HSHS St. Vincent Hospital and HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital Medical Center

HSHS St. Vincent Hospital and HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital Medical Center have been delivering quality health care to Green Bay and its surrounding communities since 1888. With HSHS St. Vincent being the largest tertiary care hospital and HSHS St. Mary’s location on Green Bay’s west side, patients from Northeastern Wisconsin and Upper Michigan benefit from a comprehensive range of services that include cancer care, women’s services, emergency and trauma care, preventive care across the lifespan, digestive health, orthopedic, cardiac care, neurosciences, rehabilitation and pediatrics. Affiliates of Hospital Sisters Health System, the hospitals’ primary purpose is to continue Christ’s healing love through the delivery of competent and compassionate health care in an environment sensitive to the needs of all people. Both hospitals are accredited by the Joint Commission of Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.

 

About HSHS St. Nicholas Hospital

HSHS St. Nicholas Hospital has been delivering high quality health care to Sheboygan and its surrounding communities since 1890. HSHS St. Nicholas Hospital provides a comprehensive range of services that include cancer care, women’s services, 24-hour emergency care, digestive health, orthopedics, cardiac, home health and hospice care. The hospital’s primary purpose is to continue Christ’s healing love through the delivery of high quality and compassionate health care in an environment sensitive to the needs of all people. HSHS St. Nicholas Hospital is accredited by the Joint Commission of Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.  An affiliate of Hospital Sisters Health System, we draw on the history of St. Francis of Assisi as we move to continue serving the health care needs of our area in Christ’s healing ministry, caring for all people. To learn more, visit www.stnicholashospital.org.

 

About HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital
HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital serves Oconto Falls and the surrounding communities as a federally designated critical access hospital with a 24-hour emergency department; urgent care; general, vascular, and orthopedic surgical services; inpatient and outpatient surgical and diagnostic services; rehabilitation; an oncology outpatient clinic; and women’s care. It was founded as Oconto Falls City Hospital in 1921 and became HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital in 2014 when it joined Hospital Sisters Health System (HSHS). As an affiliate of HSHS, HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital draws on the history of St. Francis of Assisi as it serves the health care needs of the region in Christ’s healing ministry, caring for all people. HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital also has six regional health center locations in affiliation with Prevea Health in Gillett, Lena, Mountain, Oconto, Oconto Falls and Suring. HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital Pharmacies are located in Gillett and Oconto Falls. For more information about St. Clare, please visit: www.stclarememorial.org.

 

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 15 Local Systems and physician practices in 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. For more information about HSHS, visit www.hshs.org.  For more information about Hospital Sisters of St. Francis, visit www.hospitalsisters.org.

 

About Prevea Health

Founded in Green Bay, Wis. in 1996, Prevea Health is a health care organization that provides high-quality, primary and specialty health care in 80+ locations across Northern, Eastern and Western Wisconsin in clinic and hospital settings. It is partnered with six Hospital Sisters Health System (HSHS) hospitals across Wisconsin to provide patients a system of highly coordinated care, close to home: HSHS St. Vincent Hospital and HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital Medical Center in Green Bay; HSHS St. Nicholas Hospital in Sheboygan; HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital in Oconto Falls; HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital in Eau Claire; and HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital in Chippewa Falls. For more information, visit www.prevea.com.

Media Contacts

Dana Jermstad

Director of Communications and Public Relations
 (920) 429-1752
dana.jermstad@hshs.org

 

Angela Deja

Public Relations Manager
(920) 272-3360
angela.deja@hshs.org

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