Get Screened for Colorectal Cancer
How can you keep your colon in ideal health? You're not alone if you've ever questioned where to begin regarding maintaining your colon health. Exercise, a well-balanced diet, and routine health assessments are just a few approaches to protecting your health as you age. Colon and rectal cancer is among the most common but avoidable cancers because of the tests used for catching this disease. Learning about your colon health can be as easy as scheduling a visit to Utah Gastroenterology. Our gastrointestinal (GI) specialists throughout the Salt Lake City and St. George, UT areas can help guide you toward a future of health.
Why are colorectal cancer exams so essential?
As per the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer impacts the lives of nearly 4% of women and men in the U.S. That is around 1 in 25 individuals. The positive news is that colorectal cancer is avoidable if diagnosed in the beginning stages.
In most cases, colon cancers start as a growth (cluster of cells) on the internal wall of the large intestine (colon) or rectum. These growths are called colorectal polyps. It is uncommon to have symptoms when you have polyps, meaning a colorectal cancer exam is critical for finding them. If polyps are discovered, you safeguard your general and GI health by excising any growths before they become malignant. It is also important, however, to schedule a colorectal cancer screening if you experience any of the following:
- Change in bowel habits
- Change in stool form or color
- Rectal bleeding
- Abdominal pain
What makes colon cancer so prevalent?
Even though it isn't known why colon cancer has become more widespread over time, several factors could contribute to colon cancer. Staying educated and becoming familiar with the risk factors for colon cancer can help you remain vigilant and make better choices for your future health. Some of the risk factors for colon cancer include:
- Tobacco use
- A diet insufficient in fruits and vegetables
- A diet that contains a high amount of processed meat
- Inadequate amount of exercise
- A low-fiber and high-fat diet
- Being diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis)
- Family history of colon or rectal cancer
- A prior history of colon or rectal cancer
We invite you to request an appointment with a Utah Gastroenterology gastrointestinal specialist. Our providers can discuss further details about colon and rectal cancer and how you can receive guidance toward future health and wellness.
How often should you have a colon cancer test?
You should obtain your first colon screening at age 45 if you have an average risk for colon cancer and then every decade after that. The chance of polyps and bowel cancer becomes more significant with age. Therefore, the more often you undergo colon cancer testing, the faster an issue is caught. Starting at age 75, you should undergo testing dependent upon your general health condition and your GI doctor’s recommendations.
It is important to know that having a personal or familial history of colon polyps or colon cancer places you in the significantly higher risk category. Should you fall into this significantly high-risk group, you'll likely require a colonoscopy exam at least once every five years. It’s better to be aware of your colorectal health and wellness status rather than to question whether you should request a GI appointment. A standard screening for colon or rectal cancer, or a colonoscopy, typically takes less than 60 minutes. This test is an excellent process to know your colon's current status and what modifications you may need to make to keep your colon healthy moving forward.
Schedule a colon cancer screening in Utah today
A routine colon cancer screening can help safeguard your future. The American Cancer Society reports that about 144,000 new colorectal cancer cases get diagnosed every year. Fight that number today by requesting a colon cancer test at a Utah Gastroenterology location in or around Salt Lake City and St. George, UT. If you have concerns or questions about the screening or your colon health, don't hesitate to review them with your gastrointestinal specialist during your visit.