The Coronavirus pandemic has many Americans putting life on hold, bracing for the new normal that is social distancing and staying home during these uncertain times. For many the pandemic has also delayed lifesaving screenings as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has urged patients to delay any elective surgeries or procedures at this time such as your routine colonoscopy. According to the American Cancer Society, Dr. Rich Wender, Chief Cancer Control Officer for the ACS, stated:
“The American Cancer Society recommends that no one should go to a health care facility for routine cancer screening at this time…Remember, these screening tests save lives. When restrictions lift, it’s important to reschedule any screening test that you’re due to receive…Getting back on track with cancer screening should be a high priority.”
These recommendations have affected those seeking routine colonoscopies, which the American Cancer Society recommends that people at average risk* of colorectal cancer start regular screening at age 45, and every 10 years thereafter. Even with a family history of colorectal cancer or previous instances of cancer and/or polyps, colonoscopies in these instances would still be considered elective non-urgent procedures. Upcoming procedures would need to be rescheduled for the future. Some surveillance colonoscopy could be a higher priority and may need to be performed.
*For screening, people are considered to be at average risk if they do not have:
A personal history of colorectal cancer or certain types of polyps
A family history of colorectal cancer
A personal history of inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease)
A confirmed or suspected hereditary colorectal cancer syndrome, such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or Lynch syndrome (hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer or HNPCC)
A personal history of getting radiation to the abdomen (belly) or pelvic area to treat a prior cancer
For the latest information related to the Coronavirus pandemic please visit the CDC website.