Screenings are an essential part of disease prevention. Having regular preventive scans can detect conditions that may have not begun to show symptoms yet, especially conditions which rarely display any symptoms at all.
One of the most common and fatal cancers in both men and women is colon cancer. It is estimated that over 140,000 people will be diagnosed with colon cancer in the U.S. this year. Colon cancer, if detected too late, has a low percentage of survivability – however, it is also one of the most preventable types of cancer.
People who have regular colon cancer screenings have outstanding rates of survivability. For this reason, it is recommended that all adults who are 50 years old undergo a colonoscopy. People who have a first-degree family member (parent, sibling, child) who was diagnosed with colon cancer at a relatively young age may be recommended by their doctor to have a colonoscopy even sooner.
Facts About Screening for Colon Cancer
Here are a few key things that you should know about colon cancer screenings:
There Are Different Types of Colon Cancer Screenings
There are three main types of tests used to screen for colon cancer: the high-sensitivity stool test, a flexible sigmoidoscopy, and a colonoscopy. Talk to your doctor about when you should be tested and which test you should have.
Colon Cancer Screening Should Begin by Age 50 or Earlier
If you are at high risk of developing colon cancer – if someone in your family has been diagnosed with colon cancer – you are part of a high-risk group, and you may need to undergo colon cancer screenings before the age of 50. Other risk factors include a personal history of inflammatory bowel disease, a sedentary lifestyle, and a low-fiber diet.
Screenings Can Prevent Colon Cancer by Removing Polyps
Initial signs of colon cancer are the growth of cancerous or precancerous polyps in the colon. During a colonoscopy, these polyps are removed – so they cannot continue to fester and become cancerous.
Depending on the type, size, and number of any polyps found during your first colonoscopy, you may be asked by the doctor to come back for a follow-up colonoscopy within less than a year. If no polyps are found and you do not have a family history of colon cancer, you may be told that you can wait for a number of years before having your next one.
Colon Cancer Screening and Prevention in Cleveland
According to the American Cancer Society, deaths from colon cancer have dropped significantly due to patients being diligent with their colon cancer screenings. Approximately 90% of patients who were diagnosed early live longer than those who are diagnosed with the disease in its advanced stages.
If you want to be proactive about your colon health, our gastroenterologists at North Shore Gastroenterology are here to help manage your risk and maximize your survivability. We perform screenings including colonoscopy, endoscopy, and other tests that evaluate and treat issues affecting your gastrointestinal system.
Schedule your colon cancer screening now by calling North Shore Gastroenterology at (440) 808-1212. You can also fill out our online appointment request form now. We look forward to being your healthcare partner!