Early detection of colon cancer: why screening is so important

February 8, 2023

Colon cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States. According to estimates, by 2030, it may become the second deadliest form of cancer in America. This sobering statistic is why early detection and screening for this disease are so important. Fortunately, if detected at an early stage, colon cancer can be successfully treated, making screening a potentially life-saving measure for all patients who are at risk. In this blog post, we will explore why regular screenings are essential and how they can help you stay one step ahead of this serious illness.

What is colon cancer, and what are the symptoms

Colon cancer is an abnormal growth of cells that form in the colon and often spreads to lymph nodes or other organs. Symptoms may include abnormal stools, rectal bleeding, and changes in bowel habits. In its early stages, colon cancer is treatable and possibly curable with surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy. Regular colon screenings are important for the early detection and treatment of colon cancer, preventing it from spreading to other parts of the body. By detecting colon cancer early, the involvement of more drastic treatment methods is often not necessary.

Who should be screened for colon cancer

Colon cancer is one of the most treatable and curable cancers, yet it still claims the lives of thousands of Americans each year. Therefore, colon cancer screening is an essential part of preventive care for everyone over the age of 45. Those with a prior history of colon polyps or colon cancer, as well as those with colon cancer in their immediate family, should begin colon cancer screenings at a younger age. Additionally, any symptoms, such as changes to bowel movements or signs of gastrointestinal distress, should also be taken seriously and reported to a medical professional. It is important to know that early detection can increase the odds of successful colon cancer treatment substantially.

How is screening done?

Screening for colon cancer is one of the most important aspects of diagnosis and treatment. It involves a series of tests that allow physicians to assess a patient’s risk for colon cancer or detect the presence of colon cancer early on, making it easier to treat and cure. Screening can include colonoscopies, fecal occult blood tests, sigmoidoscopies, DNA stool tests, or other imaging tests. Early detection through screening makes colon cancer more amenable to successful treatment while also significantly improving a patient’s chances of cure. Therefore, colon cancer screening should be strongly considered by those at atypical risk for colon cancer or with a family history of the disease.

What are the benefits of early detection?

Early detection of colon cancer greatly increases the chance of successful treatment and curative options. Through colonoscopy, a procedure that examines the colon by looking at it with a tiny camera on the end of a thin tube, colon cancer can be diagnosed early before it has advanced. The benefit of colonoscopy is that not only can cancers and polyps be discovered, but they are also in a stage where they are easier to treat. By providing early detection of colon cancer, lives may be saved that would otherwise have been lost due to late or undiscovered diagnosis.

How can you reduce your risk of colon cancer?

Taking steps to reduce your risk of colon cancer is important for a healthy, long life. Regular colonoscopies can detect the presence of colon cancer in its early stages, which in turn increases the likelihood of a successful treatment plan and potential cure. Eating a balanced diet and engaging in physical activity should be part of your colon cancer prevention strategy. Consuming foods rich in fiber and vitamins helps maintain healthy digestive health, while regular activity can improve circulation and digestion and can also help to reduce inflammation associated with colon cancer. Additionally, it’s also important to refrain from smoking and limit alcohol consumption, as excessive use has been linked with higher colon cancer risk. Following these steps doesn’t guarantee colon cancer won’t happen – just that it could potentially reduce that risk.

Although colon cancer is highly treatable when caught early, many people do not receive the recommended screenings. This lack of screenings results in nearly 50,000 deaths annually in the United States alone. The best way to combat this disease is through prevention by getting regular screenings starting at age 45. If you are experiencing any symptoms related to colon cancer, don’t delay seeking treatment.