Anyone can get colon cancer! It is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death in men and women combined in the United States. Your lifetime risk of developing colorectal cancer is about 1 in 20.
Screening for colon cancer lowers your risk of developing and dying from colon cancer. The goals of colon cancer screening are to:
- Detect and remove colon polyps (“abnormal growths”) which can develop into cancer
- Detect colon cancer at early stage before it spreads
There are different screening tests for colon cancer which include:
- Stool test to check for blood
- Stool DNA test to check for genetic markers of colon cancer
- Colonoscopy: A procedure which allows the doctor to examine your colon using a thin tube with a tiny camera. This helps to find colon polyps which can usually be removed during the same procedure. Colonoscopy can be performed as an initial screening test. If other screening stool tests are positive (abnormal), then a follow-up colonoscopy is required.
Discuss with your doctor to decide which screening test is best for you. Please do not wait or delay!
According to latest guidelines, colon cancer screening should start at age 45. However, earlier screening is recommended in patients who have a family history of colon cancer or if you have alarm symptoms such as blood in stool, weight loss or anemia.
If you have any questions regarding colon cancer screening, please contact us to schedule a consultation.