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New guidelines suggest getting colon screenings at 45-years-old instead of 50

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- New guidelines from the American Cancer Society suggest people should get colon screenings at 45-years-old instead of the previously advised 50-years-old.

Doctors at St. Luke's Hospital in Milwaukee give around 5,000 colon screenings every year. They say recently, they've been diagnosing colon cancer in younger patients than in years past.

The American Cancer Society says there's been a 50 percent increase in cases since 1994 and there's not a clear reason why. In 2018, there were more than 2,500 new cases of colon and rectal cancer diagnosed in Wisconsin. Doctors say the earlier the cancer is caught, the better chance a person has of survival.

"We'd be saving a lot of lives," Aurora Health Care medical director of surgical oncology Dr. Aaron Chevinsky said. "We'd be saving a lot of misery and grief to people when they come down with colon cancer later on because the first time you develop a polyp to when it becomes cancer may be several years."

The guidelines also call for some people to continue screenings through age 85 instead of 75.

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