New data confirms that more and more young Americans are being diagnosed with colon cancer.

The good news is that new technology can remove early-stage cancer without surgery, but doctors say screening is essential to catch it early.

“I would follow the guidelines and get checked for polyps every 1-5 years.” said family medicine physician William Kaplan.

He has a regular colonoscopy. Last summer, doctors noticed a large suspicious polyp.

“I was in the pre-cancer stage,” Kaplan said.

The usual treatment requires the removal of part of the colon. This means a long hospital stay and up to three months of recovery.

“Even though it’s the gold standard approach, it’s still surgery at the end of the day,” said gastroenterologist Dr. Karl Kwok of Kaiser Permanente LA Medical Center.

He completely removed the precancerous Kaplan polyp with a new, minimally invasive treatment that will resemble a colonoscopy for most patients.

“I was able to go to work the next day without any complications,” Kaplan said.

“It’s an organ preservation technique that allows patients to go home and go about their daily lives in a very short amount of time.”

But to be eligible for endoscopic examination of the submucosal layer, the cancer must be found in the earliest stages. The U.S. Prevention Task Force says all Americans should start getting a colonoscopy at age 45.

“This method is most successful when the lesion is very, very small,” Kwok said.

New A report from the American Cancer Society finds that younger Americans are being diagnosed with colon cancer — many at advanced stages.

For people under the age of 55, rates have nearly doubled from 11% in 1995 to 20% in 2019. One theory is that Americans are sitting more.

“Another hypothesis is our consumption of highly processed foods, especially foods with preservatives such as nitrates,” Kwok said.

Kwok recommends following a Mediterranean diet and 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week.

Kaplan said when reluctant patients hear how regular colonoscopies saved his life, they take action.

“They change their minds regularly, and that gives me immense pleasure,” he said.

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