Why You Should Be Screened for Colorectal Cancer
What is the best way to keep your colon in good condition? You're not alone if you're wondering where to start regarding your colon health. Adequate exercise, proper nutritional habits, and routine health assessments are some of the ways you can optimize your health as you age. Colorectal cancer is one of the most common yet preventable cancers due to the tests that are available for this health concern. Assessing your colon health could be as simple as setting up a visit at Colorado Gastroenterology. Our Denver, CO team can help guide you toward a future of health.
Why are colon cancer exams so essential?
The American Cancer Society (ACS) reports that colorectal cancer impacts the lives of about 4% of women and men in the U.S., which represents about 1 out of every 25 people. The good news is that colon and rectal cancer is preventable when found in the initial stages.
In most cases, colorectal cancers arise as a growth (clump of cells) on the inner lining of the colon (large intestine) or rectum. Such growths are called polyps. It is uncommon to have symptoms with polyps, making routine screenings critical for identifying them. By having routine exams, you can help maintain your general and GI health by getting any growths removed before they develop into cancer. It is also imperative, however, to schedule a colon cancer screening should you experience one or more of the following concerns:
- Change in the color or form of stool
- Pain in the abdomen
- Anal bleeding
- Alterations in bathroom habits
Why is colorectal cancer so common?
While there isn't a clear answer to why colorectal cancer has become such a common disease over the years, a few factors might increase the chance of developing this type of cancer. Remaining informed and understanding the risk factors can help you stay vigilant and make good choices for your health. Some of the risk factors for colon cancer involve:
- A diet lacking vegetables and fruits
- A diet that includes a large lot of processed meat
- A personal history of colon cancer
- An inadequate amount of physical activity
- A low-fat and high-fat diet
- Having inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease)
- Genetic history of colon or rectal cancer
- Using tobacco products
Please request an appointment with a Colorado Gastroenterology gastrointestinal specialist. Our Denver, CO staff can discuss further details about colorectal cancer and how to take steps toward a healthier future.
How often should you have a colorectal cancer test?
It is recommended that you obtain an initial colorectal screening upon turning 45 years of age and every ten years following if you’re at normal risk for colon or rectal cancer. The risk of polyps and colon cancer grows as you age. Therefore, the more colon cancer tests you undergo, the faster an abnormality can be identified. Upon turning 75 years of age, you’ll need a screening dependent upon your overall health condition and your gastroenterologist's recommendations.
However, having a familial or personal history of polyps or colon cancer places you in the category of significantly higher risk. If you’re in this significant high risk bracket, it's likely that you'll need a colonoscopy exam a minimum of once every five years. It’s better to be aware of the status of your colorectal health and wellness rather than to wonder if you should schedule a consultation. A routine test for colon or rectal cancer, best known as a colonoscopy, will generally take less than an hour to perform. This exam provides an excellent way to explore the current health of your colon and determine any changes you can make to keep your colon in good health moving forward.
Schedule a colon cancer screening in Denver, CO today
A routine colon cancer screening can safeguard your future health. The American Cancer Society reports that about 144,000 new colorectal cancer cases get diagnosed every year. Combat that statistic today by scheduling a colon cancer test at Colorado Gastroenterology in Denver, CO. Should you have questions or concerns about the exam or your colon health, we invite you to discuss them with your gastrointestinal specialist at your appointment.