Unfortunately most individuals are at risk for developing this deadly disease. However, the good news is that colon cancer is preventable and treatable through colon cancer screening.
Did You Know?
- develops without symptoms.
- is the #2 cancer killer in the U.S., only behind lung cancer in men and breast cancer in women
- will develop in 1 in 17 people in their lifetime without proper screening.
- affects more than 150,000 people each year and more than 50,000 people die each year from this disease.
- Screening tests are designed to detect polyps before the cancer develops. Screening saves lives.
- a change in bowel habits
- diarrhea or constipation
- narrower than normal stools
- unexplained weight loss
- constant tiredness
- blood in the stool
- feeling that the bowel does not empty completely
- abdominal discomfort: gas, bloating, fullness, cramps
- unexplained anemia
DO NOT WAIT FOR SYMPTOMS TO OCCUR – BY THEN IT COULD BE TOO LATE!
GET SCREENED NOW!
Consider Your Risks:
Average Risk Individuals
You have an average risk of developing Colon Cancer if the following are true:
- No one in your family has had Colon Cancer, colon polyps, Ovarian or Uterine cancer
- You are age 50 or over (age 45 if African American)
- You do not have a history of colon polyps, Ovarian/Endometrial Cancer, Ulcerative
- Colitis or Crohn’s Disease.
- Complete colon evaluation every 10 years starting at age 50 (age 45 if African American)
High Risk Individuals
You have a higher risk of developing Colon Cancer if ANY of the following are true:
- Someone in your family has had colon cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer or colon polyps
- You have a previous history of colon cancer or polyps
- You have a history of Ulcerative Colitis or Crohn’s Disease
- Start colon evaluation at age 40 or 10 years before the age of the affected family member’s diagnosis, whichever is earlier
Complete Colon Evaluation – Colonoscopy: Gold Standard:
Using a slender, flexible, lighted instrument called a colonoscope, a doctor (a gastroenterologist) looks at the inside walls of the full length of the colon. If abnormalities are found, they can be removed or biopsied during the same procedure.
Recent advances in technology and medications have made this procedure easy and comfortable for patients.
The preparation for the procedure has changed. Patients are no longer required to drink a gallon of liquid medication (Golytely) before colonoscopy. Patients with congestive heart failure or kidney disease may still need this preparation.
The majority of patients can either drink a Gatorade based preparation that is very easy to take with no medication taste and is only half a gallon or take a pill preparation that consists of 28 pills. Other options including fleet phospho-soda preparation are also available.
Sedation is given to patients during the procedure. Usually, two different medications are given through the vein and they act in conjunction to make the patient sedated as well as take the pain away. Generally, patients have no pain or minimal pain. Most of the patients go to sleep and wake up after the procedure is completed.
The scopes have undergone a major change in the past few years. The colonoscopes now are thinner and more flexible with wide angle views. This makes the procedure easier and more effective.
FOBT – Fecal Occult Blood Testing:
Tests stool for the presence of blood which can indicate the presence of polyps or cancer. If this test is positive, a colonoscopy is required.
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