Despite the life-saving benefits of colon cancer screening, many people are still not aware of its importance—so much so that a good number of adults in the United States have never had it, are not up to date with it, or just not sure when to get it.
So, when is colon cancer screening exactly necessary? Learn about the specific situations when colon cancer screening is recommended.
Colon Cancer Screening Guidelines
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends that people with average risk undergo colon cancer screening starting at age 45. However, it may be required earlier and more frequently, if you have any of the following risk factors:
- Family or personal history of colon cancer
- Hereditary colon cancer syndrome- nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC), also known as Lynch syndrome, and familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP).
- Inflammatory digestive conditions- Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis
- Living sedentary lifestyle
- Low-fiber, high-fat diet
- Poor lifestyle habits (e.g., smoking and excessive alcohol consumption)
Colon cancer screening tests are generally done before signs and symptoms manifest. If you’re experiencing unintended weight loss, rectal bleeding, persistent or chronic abdominal pain, unusual change in bowel habits, and other symptoms, your gastrointestinal (GI) specialist will likely recommend a colonoscopy instead of the other types of screening tests.
A colonoscopy is both a diagnostic and therapeutic tool: your GI doctor will perform it to detect the presence of polyps, which are the hallmark of colon cancer, and remove them right within the procedure.
The Mystery Behind Colon Cancer
Colon cancer has been dubbed by experts “the mysterious disease,” as there are people with multiple risk factors who never get it, while there are those with no known risk factors who are diagnosed with it. In fact, approximately 75 percent of people living with colon cancer have no known risk factors, and this is why screening remains crucial.
Colon Cancer Screening in Westlake and Brooklyn, OH
If you think you are a candidate for colon cancer screening, visit us here at North Shore Gastroenterology & Endoscopy Centers. We offer several screening tests for colon cancer, including colonoscopy, fecal occult blood testing, and sigmoidoscopy, and we are committed to keeping you comfortable throughout any of these procedures while ensuring highly reliable results.
To consult one of our GI doctors about colon cancer screening, call us at (440) 808-1212, or simply use our appointment request form. Our team is eagerly waiting to help you!