You’re not the first one to wait as long as possible before scheduling that dreaded colonoscopy. Typically, adults who are over 50 years of age are encouraged to be screened for colorectal cancer because that’s when we are at higher risk. However, recent studies have discovered that young adults are being diagnosed with colorectal cancer at a faster rate. And because screenings are not encouraged for years, the cancer goes undetected for a longer period of time resulting in later stages at diagnosis, more difficult treatment, and often death.
The reasons that men and women under the age of 50 are at risk for both colon and rectal cancer is undetermined. Even though doctors are unsure what is causing this rise in diagnosis, the facts cannot be ignored. Almost one-third of rectal cancer has been found in adults that are below the age of 55. Furthermore, those born in 1990 have twice the risk of colon cancer compared to adults born in 1950. Despite this increase in risk, there has not been an increase in screenings. Colorectal cancer is currently the second leading cause of death among men and the third leading cause of death among women. Colorectal cancers are treatable if caught at an early stage and before the cancer has spread to other organs.
Colorectal cancer symptoms include:
- Nausea & Vomiting
- Blood in the Stool
- Unknown Reasons for Dramatic Weight Loss
- Cramping in the Abdomen
- Gas & Bloating
Some of these symptoms may be identified as a nuisance, not an indicator of cancer, which is why regular screenings are important. If you have a family history of colorectal cancer, Crohn’s disease, a sedentary lifestyle, or smoke excessively, you are at a higher risk for colorectal cancer. If, at any point, you experience one or more of these symptoms, contact your doctor.
The Screening Process
Most of the time, colorectal cancer develops from abnormal growths that form along the wall of the large intestine. These growths are known as polyps and are typically noncancerous. During a colorectal screening, these polyps can be detected and removed preventing cancer from forming in the colon. The most common screening test is a colonoscopy. During a colonoscopy your gastroenterologist will check the rectum and entire length of the colon for polyps. If any polyps are located the doctor can remove them during the exam. Make an appointment with one of our doctors at Carolina Digestive and we’ll help put your mind at ease. Don’t take a chance; make an appointment today.BACK