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Gastroenterology Blog

How Do Polyps Play Into Colon Cancer?

Posted by Gastroenterology Associates on Fri, Oct 03, 2014 @ 3:51 PM

colon_polyp_removal_Baton_RougeColon polyps are noncancerous growths in the lining of the colon or rectum. Although polyps are not cancerous in and of themselves, they can become cancerous later on. Screening for colon polyps can help prevent the development of colon cancer, by allowing thier removal before they turn into cancer.

Colon Polyps Can Become Cancerous

On their own, polyps are not cancerous. However, if they mutate and begin to grow out of control, they can become cancerous. When someone says they had “benign” polyps, they are right in that the polyps are not “malignant” (meaning cancer). Most of the time they are PRE-cancerous polyps, even when they are benign. That implies the need for more frequent surveillance to look for more polyps in the future, as well as screening their family members earlier, mostly at 40 years of age, instead of 50.

There are two types of polyps: raised and flat. Flat polyps are both more difficult to detect and more likely to turn into cancer.

Polyps Do Not Usually Cause Symptoms

Colon polyps do not usually cause any symptoms, and the same is true of early-stage colon cancer. The fact that polyps do not cause symptoms in most cases is one reason why screening is so important. The “Don’t fix it if it’s not broke” doesn’t work in the colon, because the cancer may be advanced by the time it causes symptoms.

In some cases, people with colon polyps do develop symptoms. All of the symptoms can also indicate other colon problems, including colon cancer, so it is important to see a doctor if you notice:

  • Rectal bleeding
  • Sudden changes in bowel habits, like frequent constipation or diarrhea
  • More than a week of constipation or diarrhea

Your doctor can determine if these symptoms are from colon cancer or other causes such as hemorrhoids or inflammation in the colon,etc.

Polypectomy

One of the major goals of routine colonoscopy is to screen for colon polyps. The procedure is used as a screening tool for all people over 50, as well as some other at-risk groups. Because colon polyps have the potential to become cancerous later on, their removal can prevent the development of cancer.

During a colonoscopy, the doctor views the inside of the colon, looking for growths areas of inflammation and colon polyps. If the colonoscopy reveals colon polyps, polypectomy can actually be performed during the colonoscopy.

What to Expect During a Colonoscopy

Colonoscopy is quick to perform, has very little downtime, and is not painful. If you hear someone say their colonoscopy was painful, it must have been in the days before their sedation. Currently anesthesia is provided by a trained professional and you are completely comfortable. Most people wake up after the procedure asking when we are going to start. It is important to have a trained person administer your anesthesia, so they can monitor you carefully during the procedure.

The night before the procedure, you refrain from eating and drink a solution that makes you go to the bathroom frequently until the bowel is completely empty. Most people have concerns about the prep but recent developments have reduced the quantity and improved the quality of the prep. Your doctor can determine the prep that is best suited for you.

During the procedure, you will be placed under sedation, which prevents you from feeling or remembering anything. Once you are sedated, the doctor inserts a thin tube with a camera on the end, known as a colonoscope, into the colon. The colonoscope produces a video of the inside of the colon. If colon polyps are found, polypectomy is performed. If larger abnormalities are detected, the doctor can take a biopsy.

After the colonoscopy, you can return to almost all normal eating and activities immediately. The only exception is related to the use of sedation, which can impair judgment and reaction times. People who have sedation must wait 24 hours to drive, operate heavy machinery, or sign contracts.

If you would like to schedule a Baton Rouge colonoscopy or a consultation about bowel health, please contact us at Gastroenterology Associates by calling (225) 927-1190 or by clicking here for an online appointment request.

15 facts about colorectal cancer

Disclaimer: All information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and should not replace the consultative advice and experienced feedback from your physician.    Always consult with your physicians on any of your questions and concerns.

Topics: Cancer, Colon Polyps, Colonoscopy

Colonoscopies in Baton Rouge

Posted by Gastroenterology Associates on Wed, Mar 26, 2014 @ 2:43 PM

colonoscopies in Baton RougeIn the fight against colorectal cancer, the colonoscopy is one of the most valuable tools. Although colonoscopies only need to be performed every once in a while, they prove to be extremely useful for detecting and preventing colon cancer.   Colonoscopies unfortunately carry a bit of a social stigma for being embarrassing or possibly painful.  Many individuals who have had colonoscopies performed will attest to the fact that the procedure is largely pain-free, and the preparatory options have improved drastically in recent years as well.  The doctors who perform colonoscopies at Gastroenterology Associates have years of training and experience with colonoscopies, and they treat them much like an orthopedist would an injured joint or a dermatologist would a skin condition.

Importance of a Colonoscopy

Most of the time, people with colon cancer don't experience any symptoms. This is especially true in the early stages of the disease. At the same time, detecting the disease as soon as possible is a priority, because this reduces the chances of pre-cancerous or cancerous growths developing further and improves prognosis.

Therefore, doctors rely on timely screening to detect colon cancer early. There are three main screening tools: fecal occult blood test, sigmoidoscopy, and colonoscopy. A fecal occult blood test involves laboratory analysis of stool samples; a sigmoidoscopy allows the doctor to view the inside of the nearest part of your rectum and colon; and a colonoscopy allows the doctor to see the entire colon.

A colonoscopy is the most precise and comprehensive test. Since it lets doctors view the entire colon, the potential for detection is the highest. In addition, it's possible to perform biopsies and remove polyps during a colonoscopy. That's why, even if you're getting your other recommended screenings, it's still important to get your colonoscopy.

Who Needs Colonoscopies?

At-risk groups should get colonoscopies and other colon cancer screenings according to the recommended timelines of the American College of Gastroenterology and the American Cancer Society. Most organizations recommend the following:

•             Fecal occult blood testing every year starting at age 50

•             Sigmoidoscopy every 5 years starting at age 50

•             Colonoscopy every 10 years starting at age 50, 45 if you are African American

•             More frequent, earlier screening for people with medical conditions or a family history that increases the risk of colon cancer

Studies show that colorectal cancer rates are lower, and survival rates are higher, in populations where the majority of people undergo the recommended screenings.  This fact doesn’t bode well for Louisiana residents, as we rank 46th in the nation for timely screening of at-risk groups.  Further detrimental impacts to Louisianaians, in terms of colon cancer risks, are our state’s high obesity rates and generally high fat diets.

What Kind of Doctor?

Many general practitioners offer colonoscopies, sigmoidoscopies, and other types of colon cancer screening. However, the best option is to go to a board-certified gastroenterologist. There are a number of advantages to this:

•             More skill in performing the procedure

•             Lower margin of error in diagnosing issues

•             Fewer pre-cancerous polyps overlooked

•             Ability to keep going to the same doctor for treatment if any issues are detected

Baton Rouge Doctors Who Perform Colonoscopies

The team of experts at the Gastroenterology Associates would be happy to schedule your colonoscopy, as well as any necessary digestive health screenings. To schedule your consultation today, please fill out the contact form here and we will get right back to you.  You can also reach our scheduling team for a visit to our Colon Cancer Screening clinic by calling 225.927.1190.

Contact Our Colon  Cancer Screening Clinic

Disclaimer: All information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and should not replace the consultative advice and experienced feedback from your physician.    Always consult with your physicians on any of your questions and concerns.

Topics: Cancer, Colonoscopy

What do I need to Know About Colon Cancer?

Posted by Gastroenterology Associates on Fri, Mar 21, 2014 @ 2:57 PM

facts on colon cancerColon cancer is a leading cause of cancer and of cancer deaths. It is the third leading cause of deaths in the US and the 2nd leading cause of cancer deaths.  This doesn’t have to be the case.  With proper screening and early detection, colon cancer is 90% preventable.  It's important to have a basic understanding of colorectal cancer and its prevention. Below, we'll explore some of the basic facts you should know.

How Common is it?

Colorectal cancer is the third most common type of cancer in men and women in the United States, behind skin and lung cancers. Each year, over 140,000 Americans are diagnosed with the condition. Sadly, an estimated 52,000 Americans will die from colon cancer this year.  The lifetime risk of being diagnosed with colon cancer is 1 in 20.  Colon cancer is a major health concern.  The American Cancer Society has launched massive awareness campaigns to educate at-risk populations about getting screened in order to reduce the rates of diagnosis and death of colon cancer.

How Does it Start?

Before cancer occurs, precancerous polyps develop. These polyps, which lie on the walls of the colon or rectum, aren't cancerous, but have the potential to become cancerous later on. Once cancer starts to develop, it usually develops slowly, over the course of a decade or longer.  Colonoscopy, the most effective and complete screening, has the ability to remove polyps during the procedure and cut the risk of them developing further into colon cancer.

Who's at Risk?

Certain groups have a higher risk of colorectal cancer. These groups should be screened more frequently, and should consider making lifestyle changes to help lower their risk. Risk factors include:

•             Age over 50

•             African-American ethnicity

•             Obesity

•             Diet low in fiber and high in fat

•             Lack of exercise

•             Smoking

•             Excessive alcohol consumption

•             Inflammatory bowel disease, like Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis

•             Family history of colon cancer

•             Personal history of colon cancer or polyps

Is it Preventable?

Colorectal cancer is preventable. When polyps are detected early, they can be removed before they become cancerous. In addition, people in high-risk groups can make lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthy diet and exercising. On top of prevention, colon cancer is most treatable when caught early.  If colon cancer is caught in the earliest stages (Stage 1), when it is most easily treated and removed, the prognosis is best – 90% of these cases will survive 5 years or more.  As colon cancer spreads, the survival rates decline, making early detection the vital component of survival.

What are the Symptoms?

Patients with colorectal cancer may experiences changes in their bowel habits, discomfort, or blood in the stool. These symptoms are all significant and warrant investigation by a professional. However, the majority of cases are asymptomatic, meaning that cancer colon cancer can be progressing without ever producing any symptoms.  Some symptoms of colon cancer can be symptoms of other digestive health issues. For example, blood in the stool may be a symptom of colon cancer or hemorrhoids, but neither of these should be left to the individual for diagnosis. An examination by a board-certified gastroenterologist, like the ones at Gastroenterology Associates, will provide concrete answers to the cause of symptoms and a course of action for any treatments.

How is it Screened?

People who are at an elevated risk for colorectal cancer should be screened regularly. For most people, screening starts at age 50, but your doctor may recommend earlier, more frequent screening in some cases. The colonoscopy is the most effective screening tool, and should be performed every 10 years starting at age 50 (earlier for some). During a colonoscopy, the doctor can detect and possibly remove any polyps, as well as take a biopsy of any abnormal growths in the colon. A sigmoidoscopy should be performed every 5 years. A fecal occult blood test should be performed each year.

To schedule your routine colorectal cancer screening, please contact the physicians with Gastroenterology Associates at the Digestive Health Center of Louisiana in Baton Rouge by clicking here and filling out the form or by calling 225.927.1190.

Contact Our Colon  Cancer Screening Clinic

Disclaimer: All information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and should not replace the consultative advice and experienced feedback from your physician.    Always consult with your physicians on any of your questions and concerns.

Topics: Cancer, Colonoscopy

What is a colonoscopy?

Posted by Gastroenterology Associates on Fri, Mar 07, 2014 @ 11:50 AM

colonoscopy Baton RougeA colonoscopy is a medical test used to screen for colon cancer and other bowel issues. During a colonoscopy, a camera is used to view the inner lining of your large intestine and rectum. Colonoscopies should be performed routinely in a number of populations, as we'll explore below.

The Basics

To perform a colonoscopy, your doctor will thread a camera on a thin tube through the colon. Prior to a colonoscopy, you'll undergo a colon cleanse for 1-2 days, in which you'll take a solution that helps you clear out the intestines. During the colonoscopy, you will be placed under mild sedation and anesthesia, so you won't feel or remember the procedure.

Your doctor will look for:

  • Tumors
  • Polyps
  • Inflammation
  • Ulcers
  • Bleeding

From there, the information will be used to support a diagnosis, plan for treatment, or order more tests.

Who Needs It

Colon cancer and polyps are more common in people over 50, so routine colonoscopies are recommended every several years for all people over 50. Your doctor may recommend that you have a colonoscopy more often if you have a history of cancer or polyps, or a family history of colon cancer. In addition, your doctor may order a colonoscopy based on symptoms like bleeding, pain, or weight loss.

Why It's Important

Having your recommended colonoscopy is absolutely essential to your long-term health. Colon cancer is very treatable, especially when it's caught early on or before polyps actually develop into cancer. Colon cancer is a leading cause of cancer and death, and colonoscopies can help prevent and treat many cases.

Many people are reluctant to get their colonoscopy because they fear it will be uncomfortable, painful, or embarrassing. It's true that the process of cleaning out the colon prior to the procedure can be uncomfortable; you may experience loose stools and diarrhea. Despite this, neither the procedure nor the preparation should be actively painful.

During the procedure, your doctor will work to ensure that you have privacy and are as comfortable as possible. Doctors view the colon as just another body part, and see the colon and rectum every day; however, your doctor will understand your discomfort and take steps to combat it.

A colonoscopy is a simple screening procedure that can save lives. It is relatively quick to undergo, and can help you identify bowel issues before you have serious symptoms and complications. If you are over 50, have other risk factors, or have been recommended to do so by your physician, you should schedule a colonoscopy as soon as possible.

To schedule your colon cancer screening today, please contact one of the doctors at Gastroenterology Associates at (225) 927-1190.

Contact Our Colon  Cancer Screening Clinic

Disclaimer: All information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and should not replace the consultative advice and experienced feedback from your physician.    Always consult with your physicians on any of your questions and concerns.

Topics: Cancer, Colonoscopy

Colonoscopies: Myth and Fact

Posted by Gastroenterology Associates on Mon, Jun 10, 2013 @ 10:49 AM

colonoscopies myth and fact

Colorectal cancer, also known simply as colon cancer, is one of the most common causes of cancer-related death. It is also highly treatable when caught early. The best tool for early detection and treatment is colonoscopy, which should be performed every 10 years in patients over the age of 50. During a colonoscopy, physicians insert a camera into the large intestine (colon) in order to identify polyps and potentially cancerous tissue. If necessary, polyps can be removed and suspicious tissues biopsied during the procedure.

Myth: Only men need routine colonoscopies.
Fact: Colorectal cancer is equally common in men and women, meaning that early screening is essential for both genders.

Myth: Only Caucasians need to be screened for colorectal cancer.

Fact: The incidence of colon cancer is equal across races.

Myth: Only people who already have symptoms need to get a colonoscopy.
Fact:  When colorectal cancer is detected early, the 5-year survival rate is 90%; unfortunately, only 40% of patients are diagnosed at that stage. The goal is to detect cancer before it causes symptoms. In addition, many colorectal cancer patients have no symptoms at all.

Myth: Only people with a family history of colorectal cancer need routine testing.

Fact: Anyone can get cancer, regardless of family history. All individuals above the age of 50 should receive routine colonoscopies; patients with a family history of colorectal cancer should get screened earlier.

Myth: There is a significant risk of complications.

Fact: There are very few complications associated with colonoscopies, and they occur quite rarely: about 1 in 1000 patients experience complications. In fact, you are more likely to get colon cancer than to experience complications after a colonoscopy.

Myth: It will be embarrassing.
Fact: Physicians perform hundreds of colonoscopies every year, and view the colon as just another organ of the body. However, they are also aware that colonoscopies are an invasive form of screening, which can make patients uncomfortable. Part of the physician's job is to keep the procedure as comfortable, respectful, and modest as possible.

Myth: The preparation is unpleasant.
Fact: In order for your doctor to see your colon, it will need to be completely cleaned before the procedure, which means a liquid diet for at least 1 day, as well as a prescription laxative. However, using the restroom during this time should not be uncomfortable; in fact, patients most commonly complain about about the amount of liquids they had to drink.

Myth: The procedure is painful.
Fact: Patients generally receive a sedative during the procedure, as well as pain medication if needed. The majority of patients do not even remember the procedure afterwards.

Myth: If a polyp is found, it means you have cancer.
Fact: Polyps are benign, but have the potential to become cancerous if left untreated. They can be removed during the colonoscopy, with no further treatment necessary.

Myth: The outlook is poor if cancerous cells are found.
Fact: When colon cancer is identified early, the prognosis is excellent.

 

The Gastroenterology Associates are specialized and highly experienced in screening for, detecting, and treating colorectal cancer and the precursors to colorectal cancer (ie polyps).  Contact the Gastroenterology Associates for an appointment today.

Disclaimer: All information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and should not replace the consultative advice and experienced feedback from your physician.    Always consult with your physicians on any of your questions and concerns.

7 reasons for colon cancer screening

 

Topics: Gastroenterologists, Colonoscopy

Aspirin and Colorectal Cancer

Posted by Gastroenterology Associates on Thu, Jun 06, 2013 @ 1:26 PM

aspirin and colorectal cancer

Aspirin has gained a great deal of attention as a multipurpose medication. The analgesic, antipyretic, and anti-inflammatory properties of this substance have been used for centuries to treat a number of symptoms. It is a part of a group of medications known as NSAIDs, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, which also includes ibuprofen, Celebrex, naproxen.


Uses for Aspirin

Modern times have continued to utilize this medication as a method to address pain, fever, and inflammation. More intensive studies into the properties of and mechanisms of acetylsalicylic acid, ASA, or aspirin, have found a multitude of additional beneficial applications in its use.

It is well known medical advice that a person suffering from a stroke or heart attack should immediately be given a dose of aspirin to aid in preventing further damage to the tissue. Patients with coronary complications, blood clot dysfunction, and certain forms of inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis have responded favorably with a regime of ASA. Recent evidence is also pointing to positive applications for individuals with colorectal cancer.

Aspirin Applications in Treating Colorectal Cancer

Cancer, especially those located in the large intestine and rectum, is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. It has long been held that the origin of many cancers is from uncontrolled inflammation in the body which then leads to mutation of the cells and proliferation of the diseased tissue. Aspirin, being an anti-inflammatory is believed to aid in controlling the inflammation and decrease the genesis of cancer producing cells.

ASA stands apart from many other NSAIDs because while it produces the same decrease in inflammation, it creates a longer lasting effect than any other type. The mechanisms of its capability of producing these irreversible effects is not fully understood, but shows promise for those suffering from, or with a high chance of developing, colorectal cancer.

Prevention and Treatment of Cancer

Prevention is still the primary line of defense when addressing any type of cancer. It is strongly urged that individuals participate in a regular annual examination and perform any recommended screening, such as colonoscopy. Always follow the recommendations of your physician when advised to have additional testing regarding colorectal cancer; early detection is a key factor in treatment and survival.

Before starting any type of medication regime it is important to discuss the treatment with a trained medical provider. Despite the positive indications of using ASA, there are serious side effects and contraindications for its use. One such concern is the development of gastrointestinal distress and ulcers, which is counterproductive to the attempt to protect this portion of the body. 

The doctors at Gastroenterology Associates are your best line of defense against colorectal cancer and the information provided in this article should be used as a guide.    Preventative measures go a long way with your digestive health but it must start with you!  If you have concerns regarding your digestive health, please contact us for an appointment.

Disclaimer: All information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and should not replace the consultative advice and experienced feedback from your physician.    Always consult with your physicians on any of your questions and concerns.

15 facts about colorectal cancer

Topics: Cancer, Colonoscopy

How Race Impacts a Colorectal Cancer Diagnosis

Posted by Gastroenterology Associates on Mon, Jun 03, 2013 @ 11:50 AM

race and colorectal diagnosis

Colon cancer is the 3rd most common cause of cancer-related death in America. It can occur in people of any race; however, it is more prevalent among individuals of some races than others. It is not yet clear whether this is due to genetic or socioeconomic factors, or some combination of the two. 


Incidence by Race

Recent studies show that 55 out of every 100,000 African-Americans get colon cancer in a given year. This is in contrast to a rate of 45 for whites, 39 for Hispanics, and 34 for Asians. Among all of these groups, men were more likely to develop colon cancer than women; however, the disease is relatively common among both sexes.

In addition, the morbidity and mortality rate among blacks is much higher than that of other races; this means that African-Americans diagnosed with colon cancer are more likely to die from it.

The good news is that both the incidence and morbidity of colorectal cancer have been decreasing over the last 10-15 years. This is due in large part to early screening becoming more widespread. During a routine colonoscopy, physicians are able to remove polyps which could later become cancerous; they can also detect cancer early on, when the disease is most easily treated.

Socioeconomic Factors

The reasons behind the higher incidence of and mortality from colorectal cancer among African-Americans is not yet clear, nor is it clear why whites have a higher rate of colorectal cancer than Asians or Hispanics. However, there are a number of socio-economic factors which may impact the risk factors and rate of early detection in African-Americans as compared to whites. These include:

  • Obesity: African-Americans are considerably more likely to be obese than other races. Obesity is a risk factor for colorectal cancer.
  • Type 2 Diabetes: African-Americans have a higher rate of this disease than other races; this disease is strongly related to obesity.
  • Income level: Low income is strongly associated with both obesity and lack of access to health care in America, and African-Americans are much more likely to live in poverty than other races.
  • Access to health insurance: Only 38% of blacks had access to employer-based health care in 2011, compared with 49% of whites. Early screening and treatment is an important factor in the morbidity rate of colorectal cancer.

All of these may be contributing factors to the disparity in colon cancer rates across races. Currently, no conclusive studies have been performed that control for these factors, although some evidence points to socioeconomic factors as the driving force. This means that there is no way to say for certain whether varying rates of colon cancer across races is due to genetic predisposition or socioeconomic factors. It may be a combination of both.

Whatever the underlying cause, it is clear that early screening, including routine colonoscopies, is essential to reduce colon cancer morbidity rates. It is estimated that up to 60% of deaths from colorectal cancer could be prevented with routine screening for individuals over the age of 50. For those patients who are diagnosed early, the prognosis is excellent.

If you are 50+ years old or fall into one of the high risk categories and you haven’t yet considered preventative screening for colorectal cancer, you may want to take the next step in protecting your future with preventative screenings, like colonoscopy.  The Gastroenterology Associates are specialized and highly experienced in screening for, detecting, and treating colorectal cancer and the precursors to colorectal cancer (ie polyps).  Contact the Gastroenterology Associates for an appointment today, either through our online appointment request here or by contacting our office here.

Disclaimer: All information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and should not replace the consultative advice and experienced feedback from your physician.    Always consult with your physicians on any of your questions and concerns.

15 facts about colorectal cancer

Topics: Cancer, Colonoscopy

Discover 7 Signs of Colon Cancer

Posted by Gastroenterology Associates on Thu, May 23, 2013 @ 12:41 PM

colon cancer symptoms

Colorectal cancer is often referred to as a symptomless disease; many people do not notice any symptoms until they are diagnosed. However, there are some symptoms associated with colon cancer; patients experiencing such symptoms should see a board certified gastroenterologist, like the team at Gastroenterology Associates, for further testing and diagnosis. There are also abnormalities, lesions, and polyps which can be identified by gastroenterologists during routine colonoscopies, allowing for early detection and treatment. 


Symptoms

Colon cancer can interrupt the functioning of the bowel even in its earliest stages. The colon functions in the absorption of water and some nutrients, as well as the removal of waste from the body. The local symptoms of colorectal cancer occur as the colon fails to digest food and excrete waste normally. These will vary based on the size and location of the cancer. In addition, some systemic symptoms may occur, affecting the whole body. Symptoms include:

  1. Blood in the stool or rectal bleeding; in extreme cases, anemia can be a related symptom
  2. Changes in bowel movements, such as persistent or new-onset constipation or diarrhea
  3. A feeling of being unable to void bowel completely
  4. Persistent abdominal pain, including cramps, gas, and bloating
  5. Unexplained weakness or fatigue 
  6. Unexplained weight loss
  7. Abnormal tissue in the colon, as identified in a colonoscopy

Patients experiencing these symptoms should notify their physician. All of these symptoms can also occur as a result of other, more minor conditions, such as inflammatory bowel disease, hemorrhoids, infection, or change in diet. Only diagnostic testing can identify the cause of these symptoms.

Risk Factors

Risk of colorectal cancer is distributed fairly evenly across race and gender lines. However, there are several diseases, lifestyle choices, and genetic factors which are associated with a higher incidence of colon cancer. These include:

  • Age: Most cases occur in people over the age of 50; accordingly, routine colonoscopies usually start at that age
  • Family history: People with a family history of colorectal cancer should start routine screening at age 40 (or 10 years earlier than the age of the relative at diagnosis), and pay special attention to gastrointestinal symptoms
  • Inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis 
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Heavy alcohol use

None of these factors mean that you will get colorectal cancer, just as not having risk factors does not mean you won't develop colon cancer. However, your doctor should be aware of your family history and full medical history, especially if you are experiencing symptoms that may be related to colorectal cancer.

If you have symptoms associated with colon cancer, timely diagnosis and treatment is essential. However, because colon cancer can be asymptomatic, especially in the early stages, routine screening is also important. When caught early, the prognosis for colorectal cancer patients is excellent.

If you are 50+ years old or fall into one of the high risk categories listed above and you haven’t yet considered preventative screening for colorectal cancer, you may want to take the next step in protecting your future with preventative screenings, like colonoscopy.  The Gastroenterology Associates are specialized and highly experienced in screening for, detecting, and treating colorectal cancer and the precursors to colorectal cancer (ie polyps).  Contact the Gastroenterology Associates for an appointment today.

Disclaimer: All information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and should not replace the consultative advice and experienced feedback from your physician.    Always consult with your physicians on any of your questions and concerns.

7 reasons for colon cancer screening

Topics: Cancer, Gastroenterologists, Colonoscopy