Lower your risk of colon cancer with Sioux Center Health
It’s the screening no one likes to talk about, yet colorectal cancer is one of the most preventable cancers and most treatable if detected early. If you have not received your colonoscopy this year, now is a great time to get back on track with Sioux Center Health. Colon cancer is the second deadliest cancer in both men and women combined, so it is important to receive regular colon screenings to detect this disease in its early stage. To schedule your appointment, call Specialty Clinic at 712-722-8374.
What is colorectal cancer
Colorectal cancer is cancer that occurs in the colon or rectum. Sometimes it is called colon cancer. The colon is the large intestine or large bowel. The rectum is the passageway that connects the colon to the anus.
Why should I have a colonoscopy
Your colon, like other parts of your body can get cancer. There is no single cause for colon cancer, but nearly all colon cancers begin as non-cancerous polyps. A polyp is a small growth on the surface of your colon that can turn into cancer. Removing polyps may prevent you from getting colon cancer. If polyps have already become cancerous, catching them early increase your chance of surviving or being cured of colon cancer.
How does a colonoscopy work
The purpose of colonoscopy is to look inside your colon for polyps, cancers, ulcers and other conditions. It is important to get a colonoscopy to test for colon cancer once you are 45-50 years of age or older since the disease usually has no symptoms.
The procedure will start out with a rectal exam. The colon is then filled with air to allow a clear look in the colon. The endoscope will then pass through your anus and into the colon. The endoscope is a thin flexible tube with a light and camera at the tip. Images are transferred to a TV monitor. As we look through your colon we are looking for polyps, cancer, or other abnormalities. If we find polyps we can usually remove them at the time of your colonoscopy. If there are other abnormalities found during your colonoscopy a biopsy will be performed.
You may be at higher risk for colon cancer if:
• You are older than 50 (45 for African Americans).
• You have a family history of colon cancer or polyps.
• You have had polyps before.
• Someone in your family has had polyps.
You may also be more likely to get colon polyps if you:
• Eat a lot of fatty foods
• Drink Alcohol
• Do not exercise
• Are overweight
Signs of colon cancer
The purpose of regular screenings is to detect cancer before symptoms arise. Early detection offers the best chance for an ideal outcome should you receive a cancer diagnosis.
However, it’s also important to know the possible symptoms of colon cancer, especially if you’re under age 50. About 12% of people diagnosed with colorectal cancer are under age 50, according to the American Cancer Institute. Incidence rates have been increasing in 20- to 39-year-olds since the mid-1980s and in 40- to 50-year-olds since the mid-1990s.
If you experience any of these, talk to your doctor:
- Blood – Watch for blood in your stools or if they appear tar black.
- Fatigue – Anemia, caused by internal bleeding, prevents oxygen from circulating in the blood, causing you to feel tired and look pale.
- Abdominal pain – Discomfort can come from a blockage or constant gas, cramps or bloating.
- Change in bowel habits – “Bowel habits vary from person to person, so you know what’s normal for you,” said Hurley. Normal could be going once most days per week or a few times per day. Bouts of constipation or diarrhea happen to anyone due to a variety of reasons, such as medication, change in diet, stress, etc., but a sudden, unexplained change in bathroom habits should be checked out.
- Weight loss – Cancer cells can affect how your body turns food to energy, which may result in easy, unintentional weight loss.
How to prevent colon cancer
The main risk factor people face in regard to colon cancer is their genetics. While you can’t change your family’s genetic history, you have the power to change how you live your life. To lower your risk of colon cancer, exercise regularly, maintain a healthy weight, and follow a diet low in fat and high in fiber.
Good colon health starts by talking to your primary care provider. If you’re 50 or older, schedule a colonoscopy, or if you’re younger than 50, talk to your provider if you have a family history or concerning symptoms.