Why You Should Get Screened for Colorectal Cancer


How can you keep your colon in optimal health? You're certainly not alone if you're questioning where to start when it comes to colon health. Adequate exercise, a well-balanced diet, and preventive health assessments are just a few methods to keep an eye on as you get older. Colon and rectal cancer is one of the most commonly occurring yet preventable cancers because of the screenings that are available for identifying this health concern. Being proactive with your colon health could be as simple as requesting a consultation at Lubbock Digestive Disease Associates. Our Lubbock, TX gastroenterologists can help you take the first step toward a healthy future.

Why are colorectal cancer exams so important?

Per the American Cancer Society (ACS), colorectal cancer affects nearly 4% of men and women in the United States, which equates to around 1 in 25 people. The good news is that colon cancer can be prevented if it is caught in the beginning stages.

The majority of colorectal cancers arise as a growth (cluster of cells) on the inner lining of the rectum or large intestine (colon). These growths are known as polyps. It is uncommon to experience symptoms when you have polyps, meaning an exam is essential for catching them. With routine exams, you’re helping to preserve your GI and overall health by getting any growths removed before they become cancerous. It is also imperative, however, to obtain a colon cancer screening should you have one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Rectal bleeding
  • Change in stool color or form
  • Change in bathroom habits
  • Abdominal pain

What makes colon cancer so common?

Though there isn't a clear explanation of why colorectal cancer has become such a common disease throughout the years, several factors could contribute to colorectal cancer. Staying educated and being aware of the risk factors for this form of cancer can help you remain observant and make better choices for the future. A few of the risk factors for colon and rectal cancer include the following:

  • Having inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease)
  • Lack of physical activity
  • A diet that incorporates a lot of processed meat
  • A diet insufficient in vegetables and fruits
  • A personal history of colon cancer
  • Genetic history of colon cancer
  • A low-fat and high-fat diet
  • Being a tobacco user

If you have any of these risk factors, we encourage you to request an appointment with a Lubbock Digestive Disease Associates gastrointestinal specialist. Our Lubbock, TX team can discuss further details about colon and rectal cancer and how you can set yourself up for a future of health.

How often should a person undergo a colon cancer test?

You should obtain your initial colorectal screening at age 45 if you’re at a standard risk for colon cancer and then every ten years as you age. The risk of polyps and colorectal cancer increases as you age. Therefore, the more times you undergo a colon cancer test, the earlier an issue can be found. Once you reach age 75, you’ll require a screening dependent upon your overall health and your GI specialist's recommendations.

It is essential to understand that having a familial or personal history of polyps or colon cancer places you in the significantly higher risk category. Should you fall into this significant high-risk bracket, you’ll likely need to undergo a colonoscopy once every five years at a minimum. It's much better to understand the status of your colorectal health rather than to question if it's time to set up a consultation. A standard test for colon cancer, or a colonoscopy, will generally take less than an hour to complete. This assessment is a great way to determine your colon's current status and any changes you can make to keep your colon healthy moving forward.

Schedule your colon cancer screening in Lubbock, TX today

Having colon cancer screenings on a regular basis can protect your future. The American Cancer Society reports that about 144,000 new colorectal cancer cases get diagnosed every year. Help minimize that statistic today by arranging for a colon cancer test at Lubbock Digestive Disease Associates. If you have concerns or questions about the screening or your colon health, feel free to review them with your Lubbock, TX gastrointestinal specialist during your visit.