What you should know about colon cancer screening

In the United States, colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death for men and women combined. It is important to understand the basics of colon cancer screening to reduce your risk. That way, you can stay informed and make the best decisions for your health. 

What is colorectal cancer?

Colorectal cancer is cancer that occurs in the colon or rectum. It refers to colon cancer or bowel cancer. 

The colon is the large intestine or large bowel. The rectum is the passageway that connects the colon to the anus. Therefore, it is important to have colon cancer screening if you are at risk. 

Risk factors include a family history of colorectal cancer or polyps, a personal history of inflammatory bowel disease, or a diet high in red or processed meats. 

Screening saves lives

Colorectal cancer screening is generally recommended for those over the age of 50, although some may need to be screened earlier depending on their risk factors. Getting a colorectal cancer screening test could save your life.

Here’s how:

  • Colorectal cancer usually starts from precancerous polyps in the colon or rectum. A polyp is a growth that shouldn’t be there.
  • Over time, some polyps can turn into cancer.
  • Screening tests can find precancerous polyps, so they can be removed before they turn into cancer. These tests also can find colorectal cancer early, when treatment works best.

Therefore, make the choice to have a screening.

Who gets colon cancer?

  • Both men and women can get it.
  • People ages 50 or older are at a higher risk.
  • The risk increases with age.

Are you at high risk for colon cancer?

Your risk for colon cancer may be higher than average if you have:

  • A close relative with colorectal polyps or colorectal cancer.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease, or ulcerative colitis.
  • A genetic syndrome such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer.

Who should get screened for colorectal cancer?

According to the US Preventive Services Task Force, adults ages 45-75 should have colorectal cancer screening. People at high risk for colorectal cancer may need earlier or more frequent tests than other people.
Visit a Nao Medical location near you and talk to our healthcare providers about when you should begin getting screened for your individual needs.

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