Colon Cancer Screening
Colon cancer is the third most diagnosed form of cancer in the world, and most cases are attributed to lifestyle and aging. Colon cancer generally doesn’t show symptoms in the early stages of the disease, when it is most curable. Most cases generally begin as small polyps, which are growths or abnormal tissue found in the colon. Though most polyps are benign, some are cancerous and require treatment to contain and cure the disease. If these polyps are found early enough in the disease, they can be treated effectively with surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.
If there are symptoms that do occur as a result of colon cancer, they include:
- Changes in bowel movements, such as persistent constipation or diarrhea
- Feelings of not being able to empty the bowel completely
- Rectal cramping or rectal bleeding
- Abdominal discomfort
- Thin pencil stools or dark patches of blood in the stool
- Unexplained weight loss, loss of appetite
- Unexplained fatigue
It’s important to talk to your physician about the risk of colon cancer if you experience significant changes in your bowel movements or are diagnosed with anemia.
Screening for colon cancer is an important part of routine healthcare for patients between ages 50 to 75. Patients with Crohn’s disease or inflammatory bowel disease run a higher risk of contracting colon cancer than a normal healthy patient. Patients with a history of colon cancer in their family also have an elevated risk for getting colon cancer, and should talk to their doctor about when to start screening for colon cancer (usually at age 40 or 10 years younger than the age of diagnosis of their relative; whichever comes first). Screening methods have been shown to be very effective in catching colon cancer in the early stages of the disease so that it is treatable. More importantly, removing polyps will prevent the colon cancer from developing.
There are a couple methods of screening for colon cancer, but the one that is considered the gold standard of screening methods is the colonoscopy. A colonoscopy is a procedure where a patient is sedated, and a thin flexible tube is inserted into the rectum to look for polyps or any other abnormal tissue growth in the colon and rectal areas. These polyps or abnormal tissue are frequently able to be removed during the procedure, and tissue samples can be also taken during the procedure, to be tested for cancer or other possible conditions.
Healthy patients are recommended to have a colon cancer screening every 10 years, and patients with elevated risk for colon cancer should screened every 3 - 5 years.
Why Choose GI Associates for Your Colon Cancer Screening?
As the experts in Southwest Chicago, local physicians and hospitals refer many patients to GI Associates because of our expertise in these cases, from the very simple to the very complex. We specialize in the GI tract and liver conditions, have completed extensive training and have over 50 years of combined experience in treating these conditions and procedures on an everyday basis.
Our state of the art Joint Commission Accredited facilities are specially designed to focus on colonoscopies and the needs of our patients. Our anesthesiologists use rigorously tested sedation treatments that make the patient comfortable and have a faster recovery time. Because we are an independent facility, the time in & out of the facility and procedure is significantly less than the time spent in the hospital for the same procedure.
Our support staff has over 80 years of combined experience in dealing with cases of every type, from emergency room trauma to intricate procedures. We are friendly and focused on making your experience as easy and comfortable as possible.
Want to learn more about colon cancer screening? Contact us today to schedule a consultation or speak with a member of our staff. Your health is our priority.