Here are 5 things everyone should know about colon cancer screening:
- Screening saves lives. Screening for colon cancer can not only detect the disease, but it can also find polyps so they can be removed before becoming cancerous. Most colon cancer starts as noncancerous polyps that become cancerous over time. According to the American Cancer Society, the 5-year survival rate for people whose colon cancer is detected and treated early is approximately 90%. One of the most effective screening tests for colon cancer is the colonoscopy.
- Colonoscopy prep requirements vary. Different doctors require patients to follow different methods of preparation in advance of a colonoscopy. They may prescribe a clear liquid diet, enemas, laxatives or drinking a liquid medication.
- A colonoscopy is a rather simple procedure. Many people are apprehensive about getting a colonoscopy. However, the test is typically an outpatient procedure, and simply involves using a flexible scope and very small camera to examine the colon and remove polyps if necessary. The patient is usually sedated and given pain medication to ensure only mild discomfort.
- The American Cancer Society recommends screening. They advise someone at average risk for colon cancer to have a first colonoscopy at age 50, and then have the test done again once every 10 years. People at an increased risk for the disease should talk with a doctor about when to be tested. Factors that may increase a person’s risk include advanced age, being African American, having a family history of the disease, suffering from another intestinal disease, being obese, drinking heavily or consuming a nutritionally inadequate diet.
- Screening beats getting the disease. While getting a colonoscopy may not be something someone looks forward to, it’s far less uncomfortable and nowhere near as life-changing as chemotherapy, radiation and other common treatments for colon cancer.
Like most cancers, with regular preventative care, colon cancer can be caught early. If you would like more information on colon cancer screening, call the Medical Center of Lewisville at 972-420-1800 or visit us online.
Skin Cancer Prevention