New research suggests that men are at a higher risk of developing colon cancer than women as doctors as now insisting that men should get their first colonoscopy screening at the age of 45 – five years earlier than the usual age recommendation.
Studies find that men are 1.8 times more likely to have advanced adenomas, which are lesions or polyps that are most susceptible to becoming malignant and twice as likely to develop colon cancer. According to a study that was published in Journal of the American Medical Association, the tests show that men has colon cancers and precancerous polyps at least 10 years earlier than woman.
Monika Ferlitsch, associate professor of medicine at the Medical University of Vienna and lead author of the study, expresses the ultimate importance of creating awareness for gender-specific differences and underlining the value of early screening colonoscopy. Ferlitsch concludes that studies prove that men have a higher rate of precursor lesions or polyps and colon cancer, than women due to the lifestyle combination of genetics and causes. As men are recommended to get their first colonoscopy at 45 instead of 50, women still stick to the current recommendation of getting their first colonoscopy at age 50.
About 44,350 people were part of the study from 2007-2010 by researchers who were part of the national screening colonoscopy program. Searching for the most appropriate age to, over 24.9% of men had lesions or polyps while 8% carried advanced polyps while only 14.8% of women had lesions or polyps while just 4.7% carried advanced polyps. Once you take a good look at the standards of colon cancer, it was found in 1.5% among men and just 0.7% in women. Of course, we need more studies to look at the effectiveness of changing the gender-specific guidelines of colonoscopy screening in order to base this research on the development of colorectal deaths and cancer from the disease itself in the entire population.
According to the American Cancer Society, more than 140,000 people is said to be diagnosed with colon cancer this year as almost 50,000 will die from the disease as men have 40% higher chance than women. Although colonoscopy screenings are recommended, the cancer society says that only half of people who are at least 50 actually follow with the test. As the new study alone shouldn’t change the age screening solely based on sex, there are many benefits of starting the colon cancer screenings earlier as this will reduce harmful effects in the long run.
What are the other factors of developing colon cancer?
These are the following factors that play a role in a person’s risk of developing colon cancer:
As people get older, the risk of developing all forms of cancer increases. The average age for people diagnosed with colon cancer is 72.
As the studies mentioned above, men carry a higher risk of developing colon cancer.
Studies show that black people carry the highest rates of non-hereditary colon cancer in the United States as it is also the leading cause of cancer-related deaths.
Lifestyle and Diet
There are various dietary factors that are currently being look at as the most current research links processed and red meat to increase the risk of the disease.
Physical inactivity and those who are obese also have an increased risk of colorectal cancer.
The cancer may run in the family, whether is be first-degree relatives such as parents or siblings or family members such as grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins.
Rare inherited conditions that may add a high risk includes:
- Gardner syndrome
- Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP)
- Lynch syndrome
- Attenuated familial adenomatous polyposis (AFAP)
- Muir-Torre syndrome
- Juvenile Polyposis syndrome (JPS)
- MYH-associated polyposis (MAP)
- Turcot syndrome
- Peutz-Jeghers syndrome (PJS)
Whether the age recommended screening should start ate 45 or 50 years old, patients must be educated by their physicians. The earlier the patient has been screened and detected, the faster physicians can remove them before the situation becomes inoperable. The American Preventive Services Task force highly recommends that adults aged 45-75 years old should follow the screening by using sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy or use a fecal occult blood test. For those with a family history of the disease, it is strongly advisable to start the screening in as early as 35-40 years old.