Gastroenterology

Colon Cancer FAQs

Who Does Colon Cancer Affect?

  • 5 percent of the population will have colon cancer.
  • It is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in women.
  • It is the second-leading cause of cancer death in men.

What Increases My Risk of Colon Cancer?

  • Personal history of prior colorectal cancer or colon polyps
  • Smoking
  • Family history of colon cancer or polyps
  • Polyposis syndromes
  • Irritable bowel disease
  • Age

How Can I Lower My Risk of Colon Cancer?

Colon cancer screening tests are the most effective tool to lower your risk of colon cancer. Colon polyps often develop into colon cancer. If these polyps are detected early (in the precancerous stages), your risk of colon cancer will be decreased. By removing these polyps, the risk of developing cancer drops up to 90 percent.

Doctors screen patients for colon cancer at an age when they are more likely to have these precancerous polyps. By discovering cancer in a person without symptoms, it is more likely to be at an early stage and the chance of cure is much higher.

What Are the Current Tests Used for Screening?

  • Colonoscopy
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy
  • Double-contrast barium enema
  • Fecal occult blood test
  • Virtual colonoscopy

When Should I Have My First Screening Test?

If you have no risk factors, the current recommended age to begin screening is 50 for both men and women. If you have any questions, it is always recommended to discuss screening with your doctor.

What Is the Most Recommended Screening Tool?

The American College of Gastroenterology recommends the colonoscopy. Currently, it is considered the most effective tool in the screening of colon cancer, and because of this, it is the most used option.

If I Have Further Questions, Where Could I Look for More Information?

You can contact your primary care physician or check the websites below.

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