I was born in 1965.
My mom died of colon cancer at the age of 81 on April 5, 2018 (41 days after diagnosis). Two months later, at the age of 53, I had my first colonoscopy: 3 low-grade adenomas were found and removed. One was advanced (1 cm). No cancer.
My dad was diagnosed with advanced adenoma in 2013. He was older than 60. I didn’t know that one of his polyps was advanced until 2018.
Colon cancer is common. It’s the second leading cause of cancer death and it is well preventable.
I recommend everyone to get screened. For average risk persons (no family history) start checking at the age 50 or 45 for African American people. There is a cheap and easy at home test (FIT) or colonoscopy, which detects more of advanced adenomas.
People who have a first degree relative (FDR) with advanced adenomas (≥1 cm) or colon cancer should get checked earlier.
If the age of the relative was 60 years or older when diagnosed, checks should be started at the age of 40, using either yearly FIT testing or colonoscopy every 10 years.
If the relative was younger than 60 years when diagnosed, checks should begin at the age of 40 or 10 years before the age of diagnosis, whichever comes first. Checks should be done using colonoscopy and repeated every 5 years.
If two or more relatives were diagnosed (at any age), checks should be started at the age of 40 or 10 years before the age of diagnosis of the relative who was diagnosed first. In this case, checks should only be done using colonoscopy and repeated every 5 years.