Women who had a colonoscopy for colorectal cancer screening between ages 45 and 49 had a lower risk of colorectal cancer when compared with those who started screening just five years later, according to a 2022 investigation published in JAMA Oncology.

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is cancer of the colon or rectum. Abnormal growths called polyps can sometimes grow in these areas, potentially becoming cancerous, but not always. Colon cancer screenings can find these polyps so doctors can remove them before they turn into cancer.

Additionally, finding colon cancer early means it can be cured before it grows or spreads, explained Paul Oberstein, M.D., assistant professor of medicine and director of the gastrointestinal medical oncology program at NYU Langone Perlmutter Cancer Center in New York City.

The earlier you can be screened for cancer, the better.