You would never know colon cancer is preventable, given that it’s still the second leading cause of cancer deaths. You can prevent the disease with colon cancer screening performed by the board-certified gastroenterologists at G.I. Medicine Associates, P.C. To learn about your risk for colon cancer and discover when you should start screening, call the office in St. Clair Shores or Macomb, Michigan.
Colon cancer screening detects cancer before you have any symptoms. With screening, you can prevent the disease and treat it while it’s still curable. Without screening, you won’t know you have a problem until it reaches an advanced stage.
The American Cancer Society recommends that people with an average risk for colon cancer get their first screening at the age of 45. If you have a high risk of developing colon cancer, you should have your first screening at an earlier age.
Your risk is high if you have any of the following:
If you’re not sure when to start colon cancer screening, schedule a consultation at G.I. Medicine Associates, P.C. They will assess your risk and recommend the best schedule for you.
You can get two basic types of screening:
For this type of screening, you get a testing kit, collect a stool sample, and send it to the lab. Stool tests detect DNA from colon cancer cells, hidden blood in your stool, or both. If your test results are positive, you need to schedule a colonoscopy to find and treat the source of the blood or DNA.
Colonoscopies are preferred for colon cancer screening because they allow your provider to find and treat potential problems at one time.
During a colonoscopy, your provider guides a long, flexible tube through your colon. They carefully examine the colon walls, looking for any problem but especially watching for polyps.
Colon cancer begins in polyps that grow from the inner wall. As your provider finds polyps, they guide instruments through the colonoscope and remove them. Removing the polyp prevents and treats colon cancer.
With the polyp gone, cancer can’t grow. And if the polyp already has cancer, removing it cures the disease (as long as it hasn’t spread beyond the polyp).
If you need a colon cancer risk assessment or want to schedule a screening, call G.I. Medicine Associates, P.C.