Why You Should Get Screened for Colon and Rectal Cancer


How exactly do we keep our colon healthy? You are certainly not alone if you're wondering where to begin regarding learning about your colon health. Adequate exercise, good nutritional habits, and regular health evaluations are some of the ways to protect your health as you age. Colon and rectal cancer is among the most commonly diagnosed but preventable cancers because of the tests that can detect the disease. Being proactive with your colon health could be as simple as arranging for a consultation at GastroGroup and Endocenter. Our Louisiana gastroenterology team can help you take the first step toward a healthy future.

Why are colon and rectal cancer tests so important?

Per the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer impacts the lives of nearly 4% of individuals in the United States, which equates to about 1 out of every 25 people. Fortunately, though, colon cancer is preventable when it is found in the beginning stages.

The majority of colorectal cancers start as a growth (clump of cellular material) on the internal lining of the rectum or colon (large intestine). Such growths are known as colorectal polyps. It is rare to have symptoms with polyps, which indicates that a colorectal cancer exam is essential for detecting them. By having routine screenings, you’re safeguarding your GI health by getting those growths removed before they develop into cancer. It is also vital, however, to have a colon cancer screening if you notice one or more of the following concerns:

  • Change in stool form or color
  • Anal bleeding
  • Alterations in bathroom habits
  • Abdominal pain

What makes colorectal cancer such a common disease?

Although it isn't known why colorectal cancer has become more common over time, a number of factors may increase the chance of colon and rectal cancer. Remaining informed and being aware of the risk factors for the cancer can enable you to stay vigilant and make good choices for your health and wellness. A few of the risk factors for colon cancer include the following:

  • A prior history of colorectal cancer
  • A low-fat and high-fat diet
  • A diet insufficient in vegetables and fruits
  • A diet that incorporates a high quantity of processed meat
  • Being a tobacco user
  • Genetic history of colon or rectal cancer
  • Having inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis)
  • Lack of exercise

Please request a consultation with a GastroGroup and Endocenter gastrointestinal specialist. Our Louisiana staff can discuss further details about colon and rectal cancer and how you might set yourself up for a future of health.

How frequently should a person have a colorectal cancer test?

You should have your first colon screening beginning at age 45 when you’re at a normal risk for developing colorectal cancer and every ten years as you age. The risk of having polyps and colon cancer grows as you age, meaning that the more colon cancer tests you have, the faster an issue is found. Upon turning age 75, you’ll require a test based on your overall health and your GI provider's recommendations.

It is important to know that having a personal history or family history of colon or rectal cancer or polyps places you in the the category of significantly higher risk. If you fall into this significant high risk group, it's likely that you'll need to undergo a colonoscopy exam at least once every five years. It's much better to understand the condition of your colorectal health and wellness rather than to question if you should set up a GI appointment. A standard evaluation for colon cancer, better known as a colonoscopy, typically takes less than an hour. This procedure is a great way to know the health of your colon and what modifications you can make to keep your colon in good health from that point forward.

Schedule your colon cancer screening in Louisiana today

Having regular colon cancer screenings can preserve your future. The American Cancer Society reports that approximately 144,000 new colorectal cancer cases are diagnosed on an annual basis. Combat that statistic today by arranging for a colon cancer test at GastroGroup and Endocenter in Louisiana. Should you have questions or concerns about the screening, don't hesitate to discuss them with your gastrointestinal specialist during your consultation.

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