Colon cancer is one of the deadliest forms of cancer, but with regular screenings, you can catch it early while it’s still treatable. If you’re 50 years or older, or at an elevated risk of colon cancer, schedule a screening at Gastrointestinal Associates of Rockland in New City, New York. Call the office or schedule an appointment online.
Colon cancer is second only to lung cancer as the most deadly form of the disease in the United States. However, colon cancer develops slowly, and regular screenings can detect the earliest signs of the disease, while it’s still very treatable.
The first sign that you may have colon cancer is the growth of polyps, small lumps of tissue. When left untreated, these growths may turn malignant, or cancerous.
Polyps usually don’t cause symptoms, so the best way to detect and treat them is through routine colon cancer screenings.
Though not all polyps become cancerous, and there’s no way to tell whether a polyp will turn malignant, colon cancer almost always starts from polyps. The safest option is to remove polyps as they appear, before they have an opportunity to grow.
When left untreated, polyps may grow for 5-10 years. If they do turn cancerous, their cells can spread from the colon to other organs, including the liver and lungs.
Factors that increase your risk of developing colon cancer include:
Though eating a healthy diet and getting plenty of exercise can lessen your colon cancer risk, regular screenings at Gastrointestinal Associates of Rockland are your best defense against the disease.
You should start getting screened for colon cancer at age 50 if you don’t have any special risk factors. If your doctor doesn’t find any polyps, you should get screened every 10 years. If you do have polyps, you should come in for a repeat screening within 3-5 years.
If you have heightened risk factors for colon cancer, including a family history of colon cancer or polyps, you may benefit from getting screened at age 40 or earlier. Your doctor may also recommend more frequent screenings.
To schedule a colon cancer screening, call Gastrointestinal Associates of Rockland or schedule an appointment online today.