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Colon Cancer

Are you at risk for Colon Cancer?
Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States, with more than 140,000 new cases and 55,000 deaths expected each year. The lifetime incidence of colon cancer is 5%, with 90% of cases occurring after the age of 50. Men and women are equally affected. We now have an opportunity to use current screening methods not only to detect colon cancer early, but also to prevent this potentially devastating disease.

Colon cancer is often diagnosed in patients who have no symptoms. The ability to cure the disease is directly related to at what stage the disease is diagnosed. If one waits to seek medical attention until after symptoms have developed (rectal bleeding, abdominal pain, or intestinal obstruction), the chance of cure is greatly reduced. Therefore, screening is recommended for all people over the age of 50 regardless of symptoms. However, if one is experiencing rectal bleeding (even small amounts on infrequent occasions), abdominal pain, or symptoms of intestinal obstruction, he or she should seek the evaluation of a physician.

Recommendations for colon cancer screening must take into account several factors. These include the effectiveness, safety and convenience of the test. In addition, consideration must be given to what is best for the individual patient.

You should seek colon cancer screening if you are in any of the following groups:

  • Age 50 years or older.
  • Personal history of colon polyps.
  • Personal history of inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease).
  • Family history of either colon polyps or colon cancer, particularly if that family member is a first degree relative (mother, fat her, brother, sister or child) and if that family member’s colon polyp or colon cancer was diagnose d before age 50.
  • Personal history of previous colon cancer.

There are multiple methods of screening for colon cancer. The physicians at Cleveland Gastroenterology Associates ca n recommend an appropriate screening test for you. Screening is generally safe and can be provided in a caring, private and cost efficient way that minimizes inconvenience to you and your family.