Colon cancer is the second most common cancer in the United States, but it does not have to be deadly. If caught early, colon cancer can be easily treated by your doctor. This article briefly points out the importance of getting screened and getting it done beforehand.

Colon Cancer Statistics, Risk Factors

Did you know the age at which to get screened has changed? Now, If you are between 45 and 75 years old, talk with your doctor about when to get screened for colon cancer. You should have a screening every ten years, beginning at age 45 until age 75 if you are at average risk. Suppose you are at high-risk for developing colon cancer due to family history or genetic factors. In that case, you may want to see your doctor as soon as 40.

The stages of colon cancer typically range from zero (only pre-cancerous cells) to four (metastasized to lymph nodes in the body). The survivability of colon cancer generally is higher when it is in stage zero.

The survival rate for people with stage four colon cancer is only about 5 percent. However, if caught before it spreads to other parts of the body, this number can rise dramatically.


Colonoscopy screenings

Colonoscopy screenings are a painless way to check for pre-cancerous cells and find out whether polyps are growing in your colon, which can cause colon cancer. Colonoscopies have a nearly 100 percent effectiveness rate at finding colon cancer and preventing you from developing colon cancer.

It is always important to increase awareness about which symptoms are typical and which symptoms could indicate something serious. 

Colon Cancer Symptoms:

  • abdominal pain
  • cramping
  • bloating 
  • constipation 
  • diarrhea 
  • fever
  • fatigue 
  • weight loss 
  • blood in stool 
  • feeling full after eating a small amount of food

According to the CDC, you should see your doctor if you are experiencing these symptoms: 

  • rectal bleeding
  • blood in stool
  • stools that are narrower than usual

Talk to your doctor if you feel you need screening for colon cancer or have been experiencing symptoms that seem out of the ordinary. If you have already been screened, but those screenings come back negative, talk with your doctor about whether a follow-up colonoscopy would be necessary.


Colon Cancer Treatment

Colon cancers typically begin in the cells of the colon wall and develop over time. Treatment typically involves surgery to remove part or all of the colon. Depending on how much it has evolved and where it is located throughout the organ. The surgery may also affect the removal of nearby lymph nodes.

Surgery is the primary treatment for colon cancer. If it has not spread to other body parts, chemotherapy and radiation therapy can also treat this disease. Surgery involves removing part or all of the affected section of the colon. Often, this is followed by chemotherapy or radiation therapy to reduce the risk further that cancer will return.


Digestive Health Partners Is Here To Help 

Digestive Health Partners located throughout North Carolina is here for you! If it's time for a screening, please contact us. We will provide support and a treatment plan to help you get through this next stage in your life.