If you’re over 50 or at high-risk, getting a colonoscopy to screen for colon cancer could save your life.
- Colon cancer usually starts from polyps in the colon or rectum. A polyp is a growth that shouldn’t be there.
- Over time, some polyps can turn into cancer.
- Screening tests can help find colon cancer early. When it is found early, the chance of being cured is good.
A colonoscopy is the best procedure to check for colon polyps and colon cancer. early diagnosis of these conditions is the key to a complete cure.
What is colon cancer?
Colorectal cancer is cancer that occurs in the colon or rectum. Sometimes it is called colon cancer for short. As the illustration shows, the colon is the large intestine or large bowel. The rectum is the passageway that connects the colon to the anus.
It’s the second leading cancer killer
Colon cancer is the second leading cancer killer in the United States, but it doesn’t have to be. If everyone age 50 or older had regular screening tests, at least one-third of the deaths from colon cancer could be avoided. So if you are 50 or older, start screening now.
Who gets Colon Cancer?
- Both men and women can get colon cancer.
- Colon cancer is most often found in people age 50 or older.
- The risk for getting Colon Cancer increases with age.
Are you at high risk?
Your risk for colon cancer may be higher than average if:
- You or a close relative have had colon cancer or colon polyps.
- You have inflammatory bowel disease.
People at high risk for colon cancer may need earlier or more frequent tests than other people. Talk with your doctor about when you should begin screening, how often you should be tested, and what kind of screening test is appropriate. A colonoscopy is the best procedure to check for colon cancer and colon polyps. Early diagnosis of these conditions is the key to complete cure.
Colon cancer can start with no symptoms
People who have colon polyps or colon cancer sometimes don’t have symptoms, especially at first. This means that someone could have polyps or colon cancer and not know it. That is why it is so important to have a screening test.
What are the symptoms?
Some people with colon polyps or colon cancer do have symptoms. They may include:
- Blood in or on your stool (bowel movement)
- Pain, aches or cramps in your stomach that happen a lot and you don’t know why
- A change in bowel habits, such as having stools narrower than usual
- Losing weight and you don’t know why
If you have any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor about them. These symptoms may also be caused by something other than cancer. However, the only way to know what is causing them is to see your doctor.
If you are 50 or older, talk with your doctor about having a colonoscopy. The Center for Digestive Health at Alliance Community Hospital offers a private, dignified and comforting environment for patients and their loved ones.
For more information about the Center for Digestive Health, please call 330-829-8600.