Approximately 1 in 20 people will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer in their lifetime and those who have a first-degree relative (parent, sibling or child) diagnosed with colon cancer are at an increased risk. In fact, colon cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death in men and women combined in the US.
Despite its high incidence, colon cancer is unique in that it is one of the most preventable and, if found early, most treatable forms of cancer. Regular screenings are an effective way to diagnose colon cancer in the in the early stages when treatments are most effective. From colonoscopy to at-home stool tests, there is an option for everyone. Guidelines generally recommend colon cancer screenings begin at age 50; however, your doctor may recommend more frequent or earlier screening if you have other risk factors, such as a family history of the disease.
The reason screenings are so important is that colorectal cancer often has few, if any, symptoms. If symptoms are present, they may include:
- A change in your bowel habits, including diarrhea or constipation or a change in the consistency of your stool
- Feeling that your bowel does not empty completely, rectal bleeding, or finding blood (either bright red or very dark) in your stool
- Finding your stools are narrower than usual
- Persistent abdominal discomfort, such as cramps, gas, pain, or feeling full or bloated
- Losing weight with no known reason
- Weakness or fatigue
- Having nausea or vomiting
Of course, symptoms may be associated with other health conditions. It is important to make an appointment with your primary care provider if you have any of these symptoms.
If you have questions or concerns about colon cancer, a family history of the disease or if want more information about screening guidelines and treatment options, I encourage you to attend the Portneuf Colon Cancer Seminar. The seminar, free and open to the public, will be held on Thurs, July 16, 2015 in the PMC Pebble Creek Conference Room. Doors will open at 6pm; presentation will begin at 6:30p and light refreshments will be served. Registration is preferred.
Portneuf Surgical Specialists provide patient specific care with the support of advanced technology and a goal of swift recovery. Our surgery team is dedicated to exceeding your surgical needs. We offer a comprehensive, integrated plan of care for each patient, taking into account his or her unique needs and health situation. We rely on a team approach to ensure that each patient receives the level of care that is consistent with his or her diagnosis.