Colon Cancer Screening
One of the diseases that gastroenterologists screen for regularly is colon cancer, also called colorectal cancer or CRC. Modern screening techniques available at Gastrointestinal Specialists in Philadelphia, Langhorne and Bala Cynwyd, PA make it relatively simple to identify this condition in its early stages so that you and your doctor can take urgent steps to treat it. Learn more about screening for CRC, including recommended tests and risk factors.
Colon Cancer Concerns
The American Cancer Society estimates that there are over 135,000 cases of colon and rectal cancer diagnosed each year. It is most common in patients who are overweight and have a poor diet. It is slightly more common in men than women, but both genders should be screened. Here are a few other risk factors:
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Smoking for a long time
- Excessive (heavy) alcohol consumption
- Age (more common in people over 50)
- Having other health concerns, like type 2 diabetes or certain inherited syndromes
The mortality rate from colon cancer has been dropping consistently in large part due to screening tests. They allow your doctor to catch and remove any polyps before they become a problem. There are a few situations that may prompt your gastroenterologist to encourage you to get screened as soon as possible:
- You’ve passed your 50th birthday (some patients under 50 may also need regular screenings)
- There’s a family history of colon disease
- A past diagnosis of colorectal cancer (CRC)
The screening tests include a digital rectal exam, annual blood tests on stool, sigmoidoscopy (every five years) and colonoscopy (required every 10 years). These are outpatient procedures that often take an hour or less of your time. If a screening reveals a potential issue, your gastroenterologist can take immediate steps to neutralize the problem. That may be to either remove the growth or implement a more aggressive treatment plan. Treatments for colon cancer are most successful when the disease is caught in its early stages.
Call for a Consultation in Philadelphia, Langhorne and Bala Cynwyd, PA
Your doctor can provide a number of options for you to get screened for colon cancer. Call the Gastrointestinal Specialists today to set up a consultation appointment with a Philadelphia, Langhorne and Bala Cynwyd, PA GI doctor.