Gastroenterology Associates of S.W. Florida, P.A. (239) 275-8882
Colon Cancer- Are you, or a family member at risk?
The Answer is - YES
Many people are at risk for colon cancer. Regular screenings and routine follow-ups are very important for colon cancer prevention.
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Am I at risk for Colon Cancer?
Colon cancer is the third most common type of cancer, in both males and females. The risk of colon cancer rises substantially after age 50, but every year there are numerous cases reported in younger people. A person with one first degree relative (parent, sibling or child) with colon cancer is 2 to 3 times as likely to develop the cancer as someone who does not have an affected relative or least 3 relatives that have or had colorectal cancer. However, this does not mean that people without a family history are not at risk. In fact, about 80% of new colon cancer cases are diagnosed in people who would not be identified as "high risk".
What are the Signs of Colon Cancer?
Unfortunately, the early stages of colon cancer may not have any symptoms. This is why it is important to have screening tests done even though you may feel well. As the polyp grows into a tumor, it may bleed or obstruct the colon, causing symptoms. These symptoms include:
•Bleeding from the rectum •Blood in the stool or toilet after a bowel movement •A change in bowel habits •Cramping pain in the abdomen •Feeling the need to have a bowel movement when you don't actually have to •Diarrhea or Constipation •Unexplained weight loss
How Can I Prevent Colon Cancer?
From the time the first abnormal cells start to grow, it usually takes about 10 to 15 years for them to develop into colorectal cancer. Regular colorectal cancer screening or testing is one of the most powerful weapons in preventing colorectal cancer. Screening can also result in finding colorectal cancer early, when it is highly curable. You can lower your risk of developing colorectal cancer by managing the risk factors that you can control, such as:
•Eating a healthy diet •Low-fat diet high in fruits and vegetables and low in red meat •Regular exercise and maintaining a healthy body weight may aide in prevention. •Under go screening colonoscopy if you are experiencing and signs of colon cancer •Colonoscopy starting at age 50 or 10 years earlier than a relative who had colon cancer or polyps.