Drs. Oz & Roizen's Tip of the Day: Who should get a F.I.T. at 40?

April 10, 2014 

Pictures of lava tubes that meander through the innards of the Moon reveal safe havens where future astronauts might sleep, protected from radiation and meteorites.

Images of your inner passageways also protect you from danger: Colonoscopies that send a tiny camera through your large intestines can ID benign polyps, potential "seeds" of colon cancer. (Both of us had polyps removed when we had our 50th birthday scopes done.) Finding and removing these polyps - called adenomas - may be the main reason overall colon cancer rates in the U.S. have declined (2.8 percent per year for men and 2.2 percent per year for women) every year since 1988.

But there's one problem: Since colonoscopies are recommended for most folks starting at age 50 (earlier if colon cancer is in your family), younger people aren't aware of their risk, and it's increasing, as more and more young adults are overweight. Among 20- to 49-year-olds, colon cancer rates went up 1.5 percent per year for men and 1.6 percent per year for women from 1992 to 2005.

So here's a smart move: If you're 40-50 and overweight or obese, consider getting FIT every year. The fecal immunochemical test (FIT) costs $22 - if insurance doesn't pay - and can be done easily at home. A stool test kit is mailed to you; you fill the pouch and mail it back. If you do the test annually, it can ID possible colon cancer early, when it's much easier to treat and cure. That should FIT your schedule.

Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. To live your healthiest, visit sharecare.com. Distributed by King Features Syndicate Inc.

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