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Colon Cancer: Who is at risk?
“Everyone is at risk,” says Dr. Tim Edison, a board-certified gastroenterologist with Surgical Associates of Neenah.
A person’s risk of being diagnosed with colon cancer increases with age, obesity, tobacco and alcohol use, and eating red or processed meat.
Data has shown that African Americans are at an elevated risk of developing colon cancer as are people who have a family history colon cancer or precancerous polyps
“Patients with Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis are at increased risk for developing colon cancer,” says Dr. Edison.
Colon Cancer: What are the symptoms?
“Often persons with colon cancer may not exhibit any symptoms” says Dr. Edison. “In those instances it can be found only during a screening.” Nearly 86% of younger people who are diagnosed with colon cancer reported no symptoms.
Nevertheless, suspicious signs to watch out for include a change in bowel habits, rectal bleeding, anemia, and abdominal pain. Persons with these symptoms should discuss these with their health care provider
Colon Cancer: How common is it?
Nearly 150,000 new cases of colon cancer are diagnosed each year. Colon cancer kills approximately killing 52,000 Americans each year.
“Colon cancer is the second most common cancer death in men,” says Dr. Edison. It is the third most common cancer death in women.”
Colon Cancer: At What Age Does Screening Start?
Screening for colorectal cancer typically begins at age 50 for people at normal risk; however, it should begin at 40 if a person has a family history of colon cancer or precancerous colon polyps
Recently however, the American College of Surgeons and a United States preventative task force advised all people to consider screenings at age 45. Multiple medical societies specifically advise African Americans begin screening at age 45.
Colon Cancer: How Would I Be Screened?
A colonoscopy is a procedure during which a flexible tube with a camera is inserted into the rectum to look directly in the colon. This procedure is performed while patient is sedated. The colonoscopy is considered the “gold standard” to test for colon cancer. Colonoscopies are typically performed every 10 years for persons who have had prior colonoscopies with normal results. Colonoscopies are the best test for finding precancerous polyps and the only test that allows the removal of precancerous polyps during the exam. Widespread colonoscopy screenings started in the 1990′s. Since then, approximately 60% of Americans have had one.
Other screening methods include analyzing a stool sample to check for blood and genetic abnormalities. These tests are done every 1-3 years.
If you have been diagnosed with colon cancer, contact the surgeons at Surgical Associates of Neenah. We offer robotic-assisted surgery options which provide our patients with reduced recovery time, smaller scars, , and shorter hospital stays. Our surgeons lead the area’s highest level trauma center. You do not need a referral to contact our surgeons and get the treatment you need. Please click on the links in this article to learn more how we can help you.