Colon cancer is silent killer: Lower recommended age for screenings

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Cleveland, Ohio (WJW) – “For years, I had irritable bowel syndrome and occasionally I would have like sharp pains in the sides of my stomach and I didn’t think nothing of it.”

But in March of this year and at just 48, Tamiko Myles says she started experiencing symptoms that caused serious concern.

“I went to ER, I went to Hillcrest Hospital and I showed them photos, some images of what I saw in my stool.”

Several screenings would reveal a polyp, the size of a thumb, in the wall of Tamiko’s colon.

A biopsy then leading to the shocking diagnoses of colon cancer.

“If I would’ve waited to 50, the results probably would’ve been worse.”

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force on Tuesday, lowering the recommended age to start screening for colon and rectal cancers from 50 to 45.

Doctor Scott R. Steele is the Chairman of Colorectal Surgery at the Cleveland Clinic.

“Taking a look at an increase in data to see the worsened trends where more and more younger people were getting into it, it was time to continue to update these guidelines and really dig deeper into it and we got more solid evidence that this is a real problem,” said Doctor Steele.

The task force believes by lowering the screening age, in a population of 1,000 people, more than 50 cases can be prevented and 25 lives saved.

But what if a person is experiencing colon cancer symptoms younger than 45?

Doctor Steele says, “If you’re experiencing changes in bowel movements, where you’re having bleeding, where you’re having abdominal pain or symptoms that are more concerning, it does not matter at what age you are.”

Timiko Myles, who works in the Cleveland Clnic’s anesthesia department, will be 49 in September.

She underwent surgery to have the polyp removed and thankfully the cancer did not spread.

She says her husband and family have been her biggest supporters throughout her scary ordeal.

Her message to anyone who may be suffering….

“It’s your body, it’s your life and colon cancer is a silent killer.”

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