How To Know If You Have Colon Cancer – Day two of a week-long conversation about why the colorectal cancer community needs to start talking about screening before age 50. Thanks for signing up. Yesterday we learned about Karen Walsh and her strong defense.
Karen was the keynote speaker at the 2016 National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable (NCCRT) and she presented a compelling and poignant picture of what it’s like to have early-stage colorectal cancer (EAO-CRC). In her speech, she gently challenged the entire colon cancer community by asking the big question. We paraphrase, but some of his addresses are: “I didn’t know anything about the symptoms… , I didn’t know that family history was important, but when I found out and asked my family, my parents had polyps and my grandmother had colon cancer. I know we can’t test everyone under the age of 50, but how would it be different if we knew ahead of time?’
How To Know If You Have Colon Cancer
He is right He can’t test everyone under 50, and he doesn’t have to. What we can and should do is provide better information. We need to provide a better answer to Karen’s question. Because, frankly, if Karen asks, other people should too.
Colon Cancer Screening At American Indian Cancer Foundation
What are the symptoms of colon cancer? Should I ask about a family member’s previous colonoscopy? Did your parents or grandparents have the polyps removed? Should I get tested before age 50?
This is a huge question, but one that saves lives. For example, one of our employees lost his father to colon cancer in 2016 and went for a colonoscopy himself due to a family history. At age 29, his gastroenterologist removed two polyps. She’s excited to be featured for a number of reasons.
First, she prevented colon cancer herself. Second, she now has much more information about how often she should have her follow-up tests and when her child should start testing. (Hint: well before age 50.) She also took the opportunity to undergo genetic testing so that she could have a more complete risk profile to consider and share with her family.
In the fight against colon cancer, knowledge is power. The more you know about your family history, symptoms, risk behaviors and predispositions, the better decisions you can make for your health. For most people, a colonoscopy at age 50 is appropriate. However, many other people should be tested much earlier.
Facts We Now Know About Colorectal Cancer
Check out this infographic and get informed. This first infographic highlights the symptoms of colon cancer. Did you recognize them?
If you experience any of these symptoms, see your doctor. Talking about your bowel movements in terms of frequency or consistency isn’t always pleasant or comfortable, but it’s important. In the early stages of colorectal cancer, it is essential to inform your doctor about changes in bowel habits or any other symptoms listed.
This second infographic is just as important. Emphasize the importance of knowing your family history and risk factors. Even if you don’t need a colonoscopy until you’re 50, you should have this conversation with your doctor much earlier. Having a parent with polyps changes the age at which people can be screened. Having inflammatory bowel disease (such as Crohn’s disease) is another risk factor. Knowing your family history and risks (such as smoking) can help you have a productive conversation with your doctor about when to get tested.
I can’t speak for the entire colorectal cancer community, but I’m glad Karen has the passion and courage to ask these questions. It has revealed where we need to do more and how we can better reach people at the right time. Remember, timely testing can save lives.
Colon Cancer Symptoms That Are Easy To Overlook
As we continue our conversation over the remainder of the week, we will explore what is being asked of the health care community for policy change, what it takes of you as advocates, and how together we can tip the scales dramatically. In favor of fewer colon cancer diagnoses. Stay tuned. “I’m too young to have colon cancer” is a common refrain, but it also illustrates the misconceptions many people have about this potentially deadly disease, as colon or colorectal cancer is often thought of. A “senile” cancer, a cancer that does not affect younger people. Although it is true that most cases of colon cancer occur after age 50, the disease can occur at any age, especially if there is a family history. But what are the signs of colon cancer, what is the recommended age to start screening for the disease, and how do you know if you should get tested early?
According to the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death in adults in the United States, with nearly 100,000 new cases in 2019.
Colorectal cancer symptoms do not always appear in the early stages of the disease and may vary depending on the size and location of the cancer, but symptoms do occur. However, some common warning signs to watch out for include:
Colon cancer symptoms can be vague or overlap with other conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or ulcerative colitis, so regular screenings are important to rule out other causes.
Colon Polyps: 10 Things To Know
As with other cancers, early detection is important for colorectal cancer. This is because the earlier cancer is detected, the higher the chance of a cure. And cancers detected through early screening often have the best results because they usually haven’t had a chance to spread to other parts of the body.
In addition, most colon cancers occur in colon polyps, which often do not show symptoms, so it is important to screen for the presence of colon polyps for early diagnosis of colon cancer.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that regular colorectal cancer screening begin at age 50 for people who are not at high risk of developing colorectal cancer. However, the American Cancer Society recommends that, on average, people at risk of colorectal cancer start regular screenings at age 45.
Given these differences of opinion, it’s best to discuss the age that’s right for you with your doctor.
Ways To Prevent Colon Cancer
But once regular screenings begin, both the CDC and the American Cancer Society recommend continuing them through age 75. From then until age 85, the American Cancer Society recommends making screening decisions based on personal preference. Life expectancy, general health, and previous screening history. Colorectal cancer screening is no longer required after age 85.
Early screening may also be offered to people younger than age 50 who are at higher-than-average risk of colorectal cancer. Risk factors that may require early or more frequent colon cancer screening include:
If you are under 50 and have any of the above risk factors, you should talk to your doctor about starting colorectal cancer screening early.
Depending on a person’s cancer risk, the type of colon cancer screening recommended can be invasive or non-invasive. However, the proposed tests will be of two types.
Colon Cancer Diagnosis
Colon cancer imaging tests are usually invasive because they involve instruments designed to examine the inside of the colon, including polyps or suspicious-looking areas that may require biopsy or removal.
If your health care provider agrees that you are a suitable candidate, a non-invasive test in the form of a stool test to look for signs of colorectal cancer may be an option. However, unlike colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, and CT colonography, stool examinations must be performed much more frequently.
Colon cancer detected early is associated with the best outcome and has a 5-year survival rate of about 90%. If you are approaching age 50, have personal risk factors, or have one or more family members with a history of colorectal cancer, you should talk to your health care provider about getting screened. To optimize your health as you age, consider an essential amino acid supplement.
If you’re concerned about your esophageal health, read on to learn about the symptoms and causes of Barrett’s esophagus and what you can do to protect yourself from esophageal cancer.
What Is Colorectal Cancer?
Colon polyps, also called colon polyps, are small clumps of cells that form on the lining of the colon or rectum. Learn what causes colon polyps, what symptoms to look out for, and how to treat colon polyps.
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Contributors Arifa Khan, MD Ashley Bucknight, APRN Baolong Nguyen, MD Carl A. Raczkowski, David A. Niemann II, MD.
Symptoms Of Colon Cancer In Women
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