Screening and Prevention of Colon Cancer
Early detection and screening of this serious disease is simple and painless. New guidelines recommend screening starting at age 45.
Overview of Colon Cancer
Your colon, also known as your large intestine, is a very important part of your digestive system. It is where water and minerals are reabsorbed and digestive waste is stored. The inner walls of the colon are lined with a thin layer of cells called mucosa. These cells are active in transporting the waste products from your small intestine all the way to your rectum. It is from these cells that growths called polyps can arise. Some of these polyps can, after several years, become cancer of the colon and rectum called adenocarcinoma. As precancerous polyps grow and become cancerous, these tumors can invade the wall of the intestine and spread to other parts of the body. Often, these cancers can be present and you will not experience symptoms until the tumor is advanced. Some of these symptoms include changes in bowel habits, bleeding and abdominal pain.
There are alarming statistics surrounding colorectal cancer:
- It is the third-most common cause of cancer in the United States.
- It is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S.
- Men have a slightly higher risk of developing colon cancer than women.
- Black individuals and Native Americans have a higher incidence than White Americans.
- Colorectal cancer is most common in adults above the age of 50.
Here is the good news…
There are excellent tools available for early detection and screening. This is the most effective way to prevent this serious disease. It is essential to have a conversation with your doctor before age 50 about the simple life saving steps you can take to prevent cancer of the colon.
When and How to Be Screened
If you have a family history of colon cancer or polyps, you will need to be screened even sooner. Cancer of the colon has an excellent prognosis if diagnosed early and is preventable when polyps are detected and removed before they can progress to cancer.
Finding colon polyps and removing them will prevent colon cancer. Every adult should be screened to avoid this very preventable cancer.
Our physicians and staff are highly experienced and will provide a pleasant and painless colonoscopy in an efficient ambulatory outpatient setting. We can accommodate your busy schedule with a direct access appointment or preoperative office consultation, if necessary.