Colon cancer is the third most frequently occurring cancer in the United States. In fact, about one out of every 20 American adults, i.e., five percent, will experience the potentially deadly disease firsthand. Therefore, screening is the best method of detecting malignancy early before it spreads.
Let’s talk about the five signs your GI specialist wants you to know about when to get tested and where you can go in Westlake, OH, for comprehensive gastro care.
Signs That You Should Be Screened for Colon Cancer
All colon cancers develop from growths called polyps. Polyps are very small clusters of usually benign cells; some polyps, however, can develop into cancer over time. That’s why physicians and cancer researchers worldwide recommend screening for and removing polyps in the large bowel.
Accordingly, there are several signs that tell you it’s time to receive screening by analysis of a stool sample (if you are at average risk only) or by colonoscopy, a video inspection of the interior of the anus, rectum, and entire length of the large intestine.
You Are Age 45 Or Older.
This is the standard age recommendation set forth by the American Cancer Society. However, the ACS also states that the starting age for colon cancer screening depends on your overall health. Some people need to start sooner. The usual range between colonoscopies is five to 10 years, depending on what the GI doctor finds.
You Have a First-Degree Relative Diagnosed with Colon Cancer.
Colon cancer, and other kinds of malignancies, too, can have a hereditary or genetic component. So, if your parent, child, or sibling has received a colon cancer diagnosis, do not wait to be screened. In fact, your PCP may advise you to undergo testing even if you are younger than 45.
You Have a History of Irritable Bowel Disease or Polyps.
Having Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis–both forms of irritable bowel disease–increases your risk of developing colon cancer. This is particularly true if you have suffered from IBD for eight years or more–even if you manage your symptoms well. Inflammation of the lining of the large bowel precipitates both of these chronic gastrointestinal issues, says the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation.
Regarding polyps, remember that most of these little growths are benign. However, if you tend to grow them, they must be removed and biopsied. ALL colon cancers stem from polyps.
You Have Had a Change in Your Bowel Habits.
Chronic constipation or diarrhea is not normal. While these symptoms may not represent cancer, they could. Blood stools or frank rectal bleeding are concerning as well. So, get a referral for a consultation with a gastroenterologist and colonoscopy immediately.
You Are Worried About Colon Cancer.
Don’t wait. It’s what you don’t know that can harm your health. Get some peace of mind by talking to a GI doctor soon.
North Shore Gastroenterology & Endoscopy Centers in Westlake and Brooklyn, OH
At our state-of-the-art facilities, 10 board-certified physicians and their support team offer the finest colon cancer screenings available. Plus, their care is compassionate and patient-centered.
Please feel free to schedule a colon cancer screening consultation with us. We will be happy to answer all your questions about procedures, risks, heredity, and more. Phone us today for an appointment: (440) 808-1212, or request your visit online.