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Colon cancer screenings missing some

doctor with clipboardCurrent guidelines for colon cancer screening with colonoscopy may be missing people with a family history of the disease who are at an increased risk, according to new research in the journal Cancer.

Currently, it’s recommended that colonoscopy be performed every 10 years starting at age 50 for people at average risk. People who have first-degree relatives diagnosed with colon cancer or advanced polyps before age 60 are urged to get a colonoscopy every five years starting at age 40. But recommendations get iffy when it comes to those with second- and third-degree relatives diagnosed before age 60; those with family members such as aunts, grandparents and cousins diagnosed are the same as for the average person without a family history.

However, the Cancer study found that people who had second-degree relatives with polyps that had cancerous potential (adenomas) also had an increased risk of colon cancer. In fact, perhaps as many as 10 percent of colon cancers may be missed with the current guidelines. It raises the question: Should more aggressive screenings be implemented? More research will be needed.