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Scoped @ 40, not 50

StacyGleaso's picture
Posts: 1249
Joined: Mar 2003

In looking at Barb's post, it seems that 40 is the new 50...

A colonoscopy should be performed @ 40 based on the data from those that replied to the "survey"."

Seems to me that insurance companies would benefit from paying preventative (screening, scoping, prodding, etc) costs than combative (chemo, surgery, etc) costs.

I sense some letters to legislatures being sent....


P.S. lol...although those of us diagnosed well before age 40 creates a whole OTHER issue!

jams67's picture
Posts: 927
Joined: May 2006

I was diagnosed at age 60, but onc wanted our children scoped at age 35.

usakat's picture
Posts: 625
Joined: Jul 2006

Hey Pyschic Friend!

Scouty inspired me to write the following letter to the U. S. Surgeon General a couple weeks ago...read on....

July 16, 2007

Rear Admiral Kenneth Moritsugu, M. D.
United States of America Acting Surgeon General
Office of the Surgeon General
5600 Fishers Lane, Room 18 - 66
Rockville, MD 20857

Dear Admiral Moritsugu,

Thank you for your dutiful service to the American people with your dedication to our overall health and welfare, and most certainly for your commitment to disease prevention in the United States. You and your staff are greatly appreciated for your hard work.

I'm writing to you as a young, 43 year old stage III colon cancer survivor, six months post chemotherapy and currently cancer free. I have an extensive family history of many cancers, primarily colon, breast, uterine/ovarian and brain cancers, which has dominated our family health consciousness for many years.

In my particular family we seem equally split between younger and older ages at diagnosis, which has made it tricky for us to communicate with our doctors about appropriate screening for disease prevention. When I was diagnosed one year ago I underwent genetic counseling and we discovered that we carry a gene malfunction, HNPCC, which presents us with increased risk for developing the cancers listed above, but thankfully it also served as a catalyst for early colonoscopies for much of my family. Several young members of my family had polyps that were removed during their respective procedures.

Throughout my cancer experience I have been fortunate to meet many other cancer survivors, most of whom are young colorectal cancer survivors through my affiliation with American Cancer Society's Cancer Survivors Network. It is easily recognizable that there appears to be earlier onset of non-familial colorectal cancers. I presume this could be due to dietary and lifestyle changes of most Americans.

It is not new news that my generation has poorer dietary habits and more stress than previous generations, which consequently relates to earlier onset of many diseases, including various cancers. I know many people who are young colorectal cancer patients, and young patients with breast cancer, heart disease, and type II diabetes.

I have a dream, to model after a great American, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., that we can enjoy a shift in American culture and thinking where we prevent disease, rather than just treat it. I believe this paradigm shift will create a healthier America, and will also alleviate much of the burden of health care costs in this country that is tapping resources and leaving many politicians to explore questionable solutions that ultimately do not solve the underlying problem, which is Americans are not as healthy as we should be.

I would not only like to begin advocating for more health awareness for my generation, but most importantly lobby to lower the age for baseline colonoscopies. Currently the standard is 50 years old for baseline colonoscopy, however as lifestyles change, changes to health care must follow. I believe that lowering the age for baseline colonoscopy will save lives and reduce the number of colorectal cancer patients. This will reduce unnecessary suffering of many Americans, and will also serve to reduce overall health care costs. It is no secret that disease prevention is far less costly than disease treatment.

Please consider issuing a public health mandate that baseline colonoscopy should be done at age 40. If this mandate were to come from our United States Surgeon General, insurance companies would make it standard care and doctors would be inclined to order the screening appropriately.

Thank you sincerely for your consideration. If you have any comments or advice for how I can successfully reach my goal of lowering the age for baseline colonoscopies, I would greatly appreciate your feedback.


davidsonxx's picture
Posts: 137
Joined: Mar 2007

Wow, what a great letter. If we keep making enough noise sooner or later they will have to listen. I hope you don't mind if I copy parts of it for my own letter.

usakat's picture
Posts: 625
Joined: Jul 2006

Yes, please....copy it and send it to anyone you think will listen or do something to help! Use it, personalize it, get the word out! Strength in numbers, right? Our voice, our words is a gift that we can use to speak our truths.

Go get 'em Davidsonxx! Let me know if I can help...



kerry's picture
Posts: 1317
Joined: Jan 2003

How funny that you sent it to a "REAR" Admiral!!! Pun intended.

Great letter Katie!


AveriRN's picture
Posts: 61
Joined: Aug 2004

Excellent letter!! I had just had this same discussion w/ a friend. Gosh, if someone would just hear! Also, myself, being dx at 32 they want my children to start at 20-22. I certainly pray they lower the age protocol, many lives would be saved.


robinvan's picture
Posts: 1014
Joined: May 2007

Great letter Katie...
We need a shift in thinking. Canada too. 50 is way to late as many of us can testify to. Think of the lives, and money, that can be saved by going to earlier screening. Barb's poll was really telling!

lfondots63's picture
Posts: 822
Joined: Jan 2006

Hi All,

I would say that if each of us here take the letter and personalize it then send it back out to the US Surgeon General it might make an impression. I would also say send it to your local congressman/woman. If we all act together we will be heard. I wonder about flooding a big newspaper with these types of letters if it will cause a stir? What do you think?

Lisa F
(Glad that I now know to get my kids checked early so they are spared what I went through)

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