Understanding Colon Cancer

Colon Cancer Awareness Month blog sizeColorectal cancer is one of the most common cancers in the United States with an estimated 140,000 new cases recorded each year.

It develops from malignant cells or tumors in the tissue of the colon or rectum. In many cases, these malignant cells begin as polyps in the lining of the colon. Adults often develop these benign polyps without any symptoms. 

Symptoms

Similar to other diseases, symptoms vary for each patient. The most common warning signs include significant changes in bowel habits (for several weeks), bloody stools, persistent abdominal discomfort, fatigue and unexplained weight loss. 

 

Diagnosis

While blood work can identify if the body is combating a disease, a colonoscopy is needed to determine if a patient has colon cancer. During a colonoscopy, tissue samples are taken and polyps are removed. Biopsies of these samples are performed to identify any cancer or precancerous risks.    

Prevention

While there are many preventative measures you can take to decrease the risk of developing colon cancer, there are no guarantees. That is why an annual physical and regular colonoscopies are so important.

Know Genetic Make-up

Genetic testing can identify any possible genetic triggers. Having these triggers does not necessarily mean you will develop cancer, but does mean you should begin scheduling regular colonoscopies to identify and remove polyps.

Know Family History

If an immediate family member has been diagnosed with colon cancer, it is recommended you begin having regular colonoscopies at 45 years old, or 10 years younger than the family member was when diagnosed (for example, schedule regular colonoscopies at 36 if a family member was diagnosed at 46).

Maintain Overall Wellness

Maintaining a healthy weight, eating a balanced diet, not smoking, and limiting alcohol are ways to lessen the risk of developing the colon cancer.

Contact Dr. Keith Munson and Dr. David Minichan, Jr. at Jefferson Surgical Clinic by calling 540-283-6000 today to schedule your colonoscopy consultation. 

Last modified on Wednesday, 21 March 2018 14:02