Colon Cancer Awareness: Screening Guidelines and Prevention Strategies

Colon cancer, also known as colorectal cancer, is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States. Despite its prevalence, colon cancer is highly preventable and treatable, especially when detected early through screening. It’s important to talk to your doctor about when to start colon cancer screenings to ensure that you stay healthy and catch any early signs as soon as possible.

Screening for Colon Cancer

Colon cancer develops in the colon or rectum, which are parts of the large intestine. Most cases of colon cancer begin as small, noncancerous growths called polyps, which can develop into cancer over time. Risk factors for colon cancer include:

  • Age
  • Family history
  • Personal history
  • A diet high in red and processed meats
  • Obesity
  • Lack of physical activity

Your gastroenterologist will examine your risk factors and decide when you need a screening. The most common form of colon cancer screening is through a colonoscopy. This is typically done every 10 years for people starting at the age of 45 if you have an average risk. Your doctor will examine your colon and rectum with a long, thin, flexible tube with a camera attached to the end. This allows your doctor to look for signs of polyps or cancerous growths.

In addition to regular screening, several lifestyle and dietary modifications can help reduce the risk of colon cancer:

  • Eat a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.
  • Limit consumption of red and processed meats, as well as sugary beverages and processed foods.
  • Maintain a healthy weight through regular exercise and balanced nutrition.
  • Avoid smoking and limit alcohol consumption.
  • Consider genetic counseling and testing if you have a family history of colon cancer or hereditary colorectal cancer syndromes.

Contact Our Gastroenterologist Today

Make sure you know when to screen for colon cancer and what factors may cause it. Contact your gastroenterologist to learn more about colon cancer awareness.