SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — Colonoscopy is the butt of many jokes, but it is no laughing matter when preventing cancer.

March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month and just this past year multiple studies have shown that earlier colon screenings save lives as just behind lung cancer, colon cancer is the third biggest killer of men and women in the United States. Moving screenings from 50 years old to 45 years old can catch many otherwise fatal growths according to Doctor Jeffrey Michalak with MercyOne of Siouxland.

“And so yes the guidelines say 45, but if you have any alarm symptoms, change in bowel habits, any rectal bleeding, unexplained weight loss, just don’t feel right, then you should talk to your primary care provider and actually have a colonoscopy before that age of 45,” said Dr. Michalak.

Dr. Michalak added that Siouxlanders should always consult their primary care doctor before having any procedure done.