I think this recommendation should have been put into effect in 2018 when ACS suggested it, but better late than never, I suppose.
My story: I was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in January 2007. In 2004, while the ship I was stationed on was in NNSY for an extended maintenance period, one of our Medical Officers was assigned to Portsmouth Naval and offered colonoscopies. Because my Uncle on my dad’s side had been diagnosed (and survived) 7 years prior (and my dad always seemed to have polyps removed on his screenings), I thought it made sense to get screened. So at age 40, I went through the minor discomfort of the preparation and came back with a clean bill of health and was told to rescreen at age 50.
Fast forward to my next command a couple of years later. Started experiencing some bleeding so had it checked. It was bright red so medical assumed an internal hemorrhoid had possibly ruptured and treated it as such. (Back in the day we were told to keep an eye out for dark streaky blood). After 6 months with no change, I spoke with the new command doc and he put me in for a surgical consult at PNH.
The surgeon gave me the old finger wave exam on a Thursday, but wasn’t satisfied so he called his corpsman scheduler to get me added to his colonoscopy schedule for the following Monday. SO I spent a sunny Sunday afternoon in January on the toilet and went for the screening on Monday, 1PM. About 5 minutes in I heard the doctor say “I can’t get past this.” I looked over my shoulder at the monitor and all I saw was BLACK. This was January 21, 2007.
I was put on the surgical schedule for the next day and early on that Tuesday afternoon, the Navy doctor removed a tumor the size of my fist. The doctor who did my screening 2 years prior came in to the operating room because he heard one of his patients was being operated on for cancer and he was shocked. (He stopped by a couple of days after surgery to apologize, but insisted there were NO indicators that I would develop cancer. I let him off the hook on that).
After several rounds of chemo, radiation and 3 more surgeries, I am still here. Albeit with a permanent colostomy. Beats the hell out of the alternative
A few years ago I started seeing a new oncologist whose office offered genetic screening in an attempt to figure out if my cancer was hereditary. While I met some of the parameters, it was determined that my particular cancer was not genetically related. (Zantac? Probably. Was on it for several years for reflux,).
Two weeks ago I escorted my 33 year old daughter for her initial screening. The recommendation is to get screened 10 years prior to the age of your relative’s diagnosis. Luckily, she came though with flying colors. BUT she will get screened every 10 years, unless recommended otherwise by her doctor. In a year or two I expect to do the same with my son.
I am sharing the basics of my story because I believe it is important for people to be aware and to look out for themselves. If there is a family history, insist on screening with your doctor. If not, follow the recommendations and if the new age to start is 45, JUST DO IT. (Sorry, Nike). Same for your families.