Early Colorectal Cancer Screening Is Vital For Saving Lives

In 2021, there were about 45,230 new colon cancer cases in the United States. Colon cancer, also known as the large bowel or rectal cancer, is a type of cancer that begins in the large intestine. The large intestine is an essential part of the digestive system, and it consists of the colon and the rectum. This cancer occurs when cells in the lining of the intestines begin to grow abnormally, leading to the formation of tumors.

What is Colon Cancer Screening?

Screening for colon cancer is a process used to detect the disease in people who do not have any symptoms. It can be done through different tests, such as a colonoscopy or a fecal occult blood test. Screening can help to find cancer early when it is easier to treat.

Who Should Be Screened for Colon Cancer?

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends screening for colorectal cancer in adults aged 45 to 75 years since they are at average risk for the disease. However, people at higher risk, such as those with a family history of colon cancer or polyps, should talk with a doctor about beginning screening even earlier and should be getting tested more often.

What Does Colorectal Cancer Screening Entail?

Colorectal cancer screening mainly takes two types:

  • Colonoscopy- A colonoscopy is a procedure that allows the doctor to examine the entire inside of the large intestine (colon) using a thin, flexible tube with a light and tiny camera on the end called an endoscope. A colonoscopy can find growths called polyps, which can then be removed before turning into cancer.
  • Fecal Occult Blood Test- A fecal occult blood test (FOBT) is a simple test that looks for blood in the stool. The test can also find polyps and early signs of cancer.

Why is Early Colorectal Cancer Screening Recommended?

The earlier colorectal cancer is screened and detected, the easier it is to treat. That's why screening is so important as it can help detect cancer early before any symptoms develop. By detecting this cancer early, you may be able to get the treatment that could save your life.

Screening can also help find polyps (growths on the lining of the colon that can become cancerous) and remove them before they have a chance to turn into cancer. Not all polyps will become cancerous, but it's best to remove them if they are found.

The Takeaway

Colorectal cancer is a common type of cancer that starts from the inner lining of the large intestine or colon and spreads into surrounding tissues. Detecting this cancer early is essential because the disease often progresses without any noticeable symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they are usually not specific to colon cancer and can easily be mistaken for other conditions of the digestive system, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Thus, people over the age of 50 (or those with risk factors) need to get screened regularly for colorectal cancer.

Reach out to a colon cancer screening service near you to learn more.