WMAR-2 News is helping men stay healthy this Men's Health Month. WMAR-2 News' Mark Roper sat down with Dr. John Rabine, Director of Gastroenterology at LifeBridge Health to talk about the exam everyone tries to avoid, the colonoscopy, a test men, and women should be getting once they reach a certain age.
"Because Colon Cancer is becoming a bit more common for people under 50 the various groups are now proposing we start at age 45 for everyone. So I would say that’s the new standard of care as of today. If you have a family history of colon cancer, if you’re seeing blood in the stool, these are things to talk to your doctor about because there are circumstances where we might even start earlier,” Dr. Rabine explains.
“Colon cancer is a little tricky. There has always been some thought that diet may play a role, ultimately it comes down to age and genetics."
He says if you are waiting for symptoms you are waiting too long. "What’s important to remember and the reason we make a big fuss about colonoscopies is because overwhelmingly colon cancers take years to develop. You start to develop pre-cancerous polyps. Most of the time it takes 8-10 years for a polyp to turn into a cancer and that is a large window of opportunity to remove the polyp and prevent a patient from getting cancer in the first place.”
"A colonoscopy isn’t about finding cancer, at all. The purpose of the colonoscopy is to prevent the cancer by removing those polyps. So we want patients not to have symptoms. We just want them to show up because there at that age where it’s time to start looking."
You can watch the full interview below.