Colon cancer is a serious condition that affects the large intestine and can be life-threatening if not caught and treated early. One of the most effective ways to screen for colon cancer is through a colonoscopy, which allows doctors to visually inspect the inside of the colon and remove any abnormal growths, such as polyps, that may be present.
Colon cancer screening is important because it can detect cancer in its early stages, when it is most treatable. According to the American Cancer Society, colon cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in men and women in the United States. By catching colon cancer early through regular screening, doctors can increase the chances of survival and reduce the need for invasive treatments.
The latest guidelines from the American Cancer Society recommend that most people at average risk for colon cancer begin screening at age 45, and that people at higher risk, such as those with a family history of colon cancer, begin screening at a younger age.
Symptoms of colon cancer can include changes in bowel habits, such as constipation or diarrhea, rectal bleeding, abdominal pain, and fatigue. However, it is important to note that many of these symptoms can also be caused by other conditions, and that colon cancer can sometimes have no symptoms at all.
Colonoscopy is a simple and safe procedure that is typically done as an outpatient procedure. Before the procedure, patients will be given a laxative to clean out the colon, and then sedated to make the procedure more comfortable. The procedure itself takes about 30 minutes to an hour, and patients can return to normal activities the next day.
It is important to remember that colon cancer screening is a vital step in maintaining your health and preventing serious complications. If you are due for a colonoscopy or have any symptoms of colon cancer, it’s important to speak with your doctor as soon as possible.