Did you know that nearly 150,000 people are diagnosed with colon or rectal cancer in the US every year? And that according to the American Cancer Society, men have a 1 in 23 chance of developing colorectal cancer in their lifetimes? (The odds are 1 in 26 for women.)
If you’re age 45 or older, it’s time to get screened for colon cancer. Fortunately, early detection through regular screenings can increase the chances of survival and successful treatment.
Screenings are crucial, especially for individuals over the age of 45, as this is when the risk of developing colorectal cancer increases. However, younger individuals may also be at risk if they have a family history of the disease or other risk factors, such as obesity or a sedentary lifestyle. Your healthcare provider here at Horizon Family Medical Group can help you know your risks and recommend earlier or additional screening, as needed.
A colonoscopy is still the be screening method for detecting early signs of colorectal cancer. This test involves inserting a small camera into the colon to check for any abnormalities, such as polyps or tumors. The test is a relatively low-risk procedure and can provide accurate results.
In recent years, at-home screening tests have become available, such as fecal immunochemical tests (FIT) and stool DNA tests. These tests are convenient and noninvasive but may not be as reliable as a colonoscopy.
Signs and symptoms
It is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer, which include changes in bowel habits, blood in the stool, abdominal pain or discomfort, and unexplained weight loss. However, some people with colorectal cancer may not exhibit any symptoms at all, which is why regular screenings are crucial for early detection.
According to the American Cancer Society, the five-year survival rate for individuals diagnosed with early-stage colorectal cancer is about 90%. (Source: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/colon-rectal-cancer/detection-diagnosis-staging/survival-rates.html) However, this rate drops significantly for those diagnosed at a later stage.
Individuals over 45, or those with a family history of the disease, should consult with their healthcare provider here at Horizon to determine the appropriate screening schedule. By spreading awareness and encouraging others to get screened, we can help prevent and reduce the impact of colorectal cancer.