Colon cancer is a very serious type of cancer. It can and does affect people of both genders and of various ages, though it is most common among older individuals. Fortunately, colon cancer screening can help to identify individuals who are at a high risk of developing colon cancer or who are in the early stages of the disease.
Likewise, colon cancer testing is available for individuals who may think they have the condition. If you are considering undergoing screening or testing, familiarize yourself with the facts first. That way, you can choose the right type of testing to meet your needs and ensure you get tested when and as often as you should.
Screening Could Save Your Life
The first thing to know is that screening for colon cancer is incredibly important. This is because the disease often starts with the development of polyps. Screening can catch these polyps early on. If they are found, a doctor can potentially remove them before they have the chance to develop into cancer. Catching the disease or risk factors for the disease in the earliest possible stage often leads to the best prognosis.
While screening is most commonly recommended for older individuals, talk to your doctor about when you should start screening and how often these screenings should be conducted. If you are at an elevated risk for the disease, your doctor may recommend that you undergo screenings earlier or more frequently than individuals at a lesser risk.
You Have Options
If your doctor determines you should begin regular colon cancer screening, you have choices. There are many types of screening tests that exist. Common options include a colonoscopy, stool testing, and a sigmoidoscopy.
Some tests are more invasive than others. A colonoscopy and a sigmoidoscopy, for example, both involve inserting a tube into the rectum. A stool test, on the other hand, only involves collecting a sample of fecal matter and can sometimes be conducted at home. Your doctor can discuss each option with you and provide their opinion on the best test for you. You can also do your own research on the various testing options to come to a decision.
Be Aware Of The Symptoms
Even if you are undergoing regular screenings, you should still know the symptoms of colon cancer. You should also understand that symptoms are not always present. Thus, not having symptoms is not a valid reason to skip screening.
If colon cancer does present symptoms, they may include bloody stools, persistent abdominal pain, sudden weight loss, or unexplained changes in bowel movements. If you have any of these symptoms, then your doctor may suggest a diagnostic test.
Everyone should take their health as seriously as possible. If you are someone who has not been screened for colon cancer, speak with a healthcare professional about this serious matter. They can guide you down the right path based on your risk level and other factors.
For more information on colon cancer screening, contact a professional near you.