What You Need to Know About Colon Cancer
Colorectal cancer (cancer found in the colon or rectum) is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death in men and women combined in the United States, according to the Colorectal Cancer Alliance. This means, especially if you are 50 or older, you need to make colorectal cancer screening a priority.
Did you know?
- Those most at risk of developing colorectal cancer are African-Americans age 45 and older, and those 50 and older for the rest of the population.
- The American Cancer Society notes that people with a first-degree relative (parent, sibling, or child) who has had colorectal cancer have between two and three times the risk of developing the disease.
- According to the Colorectal Cancer Alliance, 71 percent of colon cancer cases originate in the colon, while the other 29 percent of cases are found in the rectum.
The Good News
Even though colon cancer cases are prevalent in the United States, the good news is that it’s one of the easier cancers to treat. Of course, it can’t be treated unless it’s detected, which means it’s incredibly important that you participate in routine colorectal cancer screenings. You should talk to your primary care doctor or a gastroenterologist to determine which type of screening is best for you.
According to The American Cancer Society, there are multiple ways to screen for colon cancer and various factors that come into play when deciding which type of screening is right for you.
Some of the screenings are stool-based which include:
- An annual Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT)
- An annual Guiac-Based Fecal Occult Blood Test (gFOBT)
- A Multi-Targeted Stool DNA Test (MT-sDNA) every three years
Other screenings are structural based, which include:
- A Colonoscopy
- CT Colonography
The Importance of the Colonoscopy
Out of all the colorectal cancer screening procedures, the colonoscopy is probably the one you hear talked about most. While this procedure isn’t one many look forward to, it is crucial to be kept up with every ten years, and can be life-saving in the event that polyps or early stages of cancer are found. The advantage of the colonoscopy over other tests is that it is highly accurate in finding precancerous polyps and polyps can be removed during the procedure. If detected early, the five-year survival rate for colorectal cancer is 90 percent.
If you’re over the age of 45-50 and need to schedule your first colonoscopy appointment, request an appointment with LeBauer GI, today! We offer open-access screenings which allow healthy patients without any significant symptoms to schedule their procedures without a preliminary office visit to see a gastroenterologist.