SCOTTSDALE, AZ — It's something many people associate with older men, but more women than ever before are being diagnosed with colorectal cancer.
Now, The American Cancer Society is changing the suggested age of 50 for women to get a colonoscopy to the age of 45.
It's a procedure that offers a closer look at the entire large intestine.
To check for inflamed tissue, abnormal growths, and ulcers, Gastroenterologists use a colonoscope, a flexible instrument with a camera and light.
ABC15 Morning's anchor Kaley O'Kelley asked Dr. Janet Reiser at North Valley Surgery Center in Scottsdale why these numbers are climbing.
"It may well have to do with diet and possibly high fructose corn syrup".
Dr. Reiser also says high fructose corn syrup might be a carcinogen, and that it's best to be avoided.
The Gastroenterologist says you can see if high fructose corn syrup is in the food you're eating by checking package labels.
Dr. Reiser is among a group of female physicians at North Valley Surgery Center in Scottsdale who tells ABC15 that a staggering number of women are too embarrassed to get a colonoscopy.
"A change in bowel habits, blood in the stools would be major symptoms.
It's important to know, the symptoms may not be there and yet they may still be developing polyps and colon cancer."
To help patients who often delay care until they can see a female provider, the Women Giving Care Program is now in place and more women are showing up to get screened.
From patient check-in to the recovery room those who request the Women Giving Care program will be assigned to an all-female medical team.
Dr. Rucha Shah tells ABC15, "I've had multiple patients say If I had known about this earlier I would have come sooner and that's really what we want."
Male physicians are also available.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, visit www.northvalleysurgerycenter.com
or call 480.767.2100.