Colon Cancer Prevention at AGMG
Learn about Colon Cancer Prevention treatment from the doctors of Associated Gastroenterology
The doctors at AGMG are committed to providing the safest, most comfortable and effective colon cancer screening for our patients. We believe that colonoscopy is the single most effective test to screen and prevent colon cancer. Our dedicated endoscopy center is patient focused to the provide the best experience possible.
How common is colon cancer?
Colorectal cancer is the number 2 leading cause of cancer death in the United States, yet it is one of the most preventable types of cancer. The cancer risk is the same in men and women. There is an approximate 5% lifetime risk for developing colorectal cancer. Colonoscopy has been shown to reduce the risk of developing colon cancer and dying from colon cancer.
How does colon cancer develop?
Colorectal cancer arises from pre-cancerous growths called polyps in the colon. Approximately 40% of people will have a polyp at some point in their life. When polyps are detected, they can be removed during a colonoscopy. Removing polyps has been shown time and time again to reduce the risk of developing colon cancer
What are symptoms of colon cancer?
Early stage colon cancer often does not have any symptoms. It is for this reason that colonoscopy is effective in reducing colon cancer deaths. If a colon cancer is found before symptoms develop, it is often at stage I or II which has excellent cure rates and long term survivals.
Symptoms of colon cancer include:
- Blood in the stool
- Abdominal pain
- Unintentional weight loss
- Rectal pain
- Sudden change in bowel pattern such as new constipation
How does Colonoscopy help to screen for colorectal cancer?
Colonoscopy is a recommended test by all the major medical societies for colorectal cancer screening and prevention. Colonoscopy has been shown to:
Reduce the rate of developing colon cancer by removing polyps
Reduce the rate of dying from colon cancer by identifying cancers at earlier stages
When Should I Have a Colonoscopy?
Per the American College of Gastroenterology, screening colonoscopy is recommended for patients:
- Age 50 if there is no family history of colorectal cancer or polyps
- Age 45 if African-American (higher rates of colon cancer at earlier ages)
- Age 40 if there is a family history of colorectal cancer or certain polyps
- Less than 40 if there is a family history of colorectal cancer diagnosed before 50 or with certain genetic syndrome
A diagnostic colonoscopy is recommended for any patient regardless of age with concerning symptoms such as bleeding, pain, diarrhea or constipation
Frequently Asked Questions
The most significant risk factor for colon cancer is age. This is why screening is recommended for most patients starting at age 50. After age, other important factors include family history including genetic syndromes, inflammatory bowel disease, tobacco abuse, obesity, physical inactivity, a diet high in processed meats, and racial or ethnic background
Colon cancer has a high genetic risk. It is estimated that 5% of colon cancers are related to genetic syndromes. The doctors at AGMG will take careful family history and may recommend genetic counseling and screening to determine if you are a carrier for one of these important genes. It is also recommended that patients with a family history of colon cancer start screening earlier and more frequently?