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New Age Recommendations for Colonoscopies

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. -- The American Cancer Society is lowering the age it recommends you to start getting colonoscopies.

With colon cancer being the second leading cause of death in the U.S., the American Cancer Society is now advising that you get your colonoscopies sooner.

"I just did a colonoscopy because I had a double lung transplant. I have to keep up with my health so I do everything that the doctors ask me to do," said Keith Chalmers of Wilkes-Barre.

The American Cancer Society used to recommend you start getting colonoscopies at age 50. It has now lowered that to age 45.

The organization says it's seen an increase in young people getting colon cancer recently.

Newswatch 16 spoke to Dr. Karthik Penumetsa, a gastroenterologist at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital.

"Colon cancer is one of the most preventable scenarios that you can actually have. By getting a colonoscopy, you're detecting a polyp lesion, if you have one, at a really, really early stage," Dr. Penumetsa said.

The American Cancer Society estimates about 50,000 people will die from colon cancer this year.

Dr. Penumetsa says it is important for patients to make sure they're getting their colonoscopies because there is a high rate of colon cancer in northeastern and central Pennsylvania.

"We see higher incidents in communities that have obesity. We do believe it is associated with patient profiles that are more towards smoking, drinking."

Dr. Penumetsa recommends you check with your doctor to learn more about colon cancer.