When Should I Be Screened for Colon and Rectal Cancer?


How can you keep your colon in good health? You're certainly not alone if you're wondering where to start when it comes to colon health. Exercise, a balanced diet, and preventive health screenings are some of the ways to maintain your health as you get older. Colon cancer is among the most prevalent but preventable cancers due to the tests that are available for catching this health concern. Being proactive with your colorectal health can be as easy as scheduling a visit at Digestive Health Center. Our Ocean Springs, MS gastroenterology team can help guide you toward a healthy future.

Why are colon cancer tests so essential?

According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), colorectal cancer impacts the health of about 4% of adults in the United States. That is around 1 in 25 people. The good news is that colon cancer is avoidable when it is identified in the early stages.

Most colon and rectal cancers begin as a growth (cluster of cellular material) on the internal lining of the rectum or colon. These growths are referred to as colorectal polyps. It is rare to experience symptoms with polyps, which means that a colon cancer exam is important for catching them. By scheduling routine examinations, you’re helping to safeguard your GI health by having those polyps removed before they become cancerous. It is also crucial, however, to have a screening if you notice any of the following:

Why is colon cancer such a common disease?

Even though it isn't known why colon cancer has become more widespread over the years, certain factors could heighten the risk of colorectal cancer. Staying well-informed and being aware of the risk factors associated with this cancer can help you stay vigilant and make ideal decisions for your future health. A few of the risk factors for colorectal cancer are:

  • Use of tobacco products
  • A diet that includes a large quantity of processed meat
  • A personal history of colon or rectal cancer
  • Inadequate amount of exercise
  • Family history of colon cancer
  • A diet insufficient in fruits and vegetables
  • A low-fiber and high-fat diet
  • Being diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease)

We encourage you to schedule an appointment with a Digestive Health Center gastrointestinal specialist. Our Ocean Springs, MS team can provide further details about colon and rectal cancer and how to move toward a healthier future.

How frequently should I undergo a colorectal cancer test?

It’s recommended to obtain an initial colon cancer screening upon turning 45 years old when you’re at an average risk for developing colon or rectal cancer and every decade as you age. The chance of polyps and bowel cancer grows as you age, which means that the more times you undergo a colon cancer test, the faster a concern is caught. Starting at 75 years of age, you’ll require screenings based on your overall health condition and your gastroenterologist's recommendations.

It is essential to understand that having a personal or family history of colon cancer or polyps places you in the category of significantly higher risk. Should you fall into this significant high risk category, you’ll likely need a colonoscopy exam a minimum of once every five years. It's much better to be aware of the status of your colon health rather than to wonder if you should arrange for an appointment. A standard assessment for colon cancer, or a colonoscopy, will typically take under 60 minutes. This assessment is an ideal process to know the current status of your colon health along with what modifications you can make to keep your colon healthy moving forward.

Schedule a colon cancer screening in Ocean Springs, MS today

A colon cancer screening can help safeguard your future. The American Cancer Society reports that about 144,000 new colorectal cancer cases are diagnosed on an annual basis. Fight that number today by scheduling a colon cancer test at Digestive Health Center in Ocean Springs, MS. Should you have concerns or questions about the screening, feel free to review them with your gastrointestinal specialist at your consultation.

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