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Here’s What You Don’t Know About Colon Cancer That Could Save Your Life

colon cancer detected

Colorectal cancer, also commonly referred to as colon cancer, is a serious health issue. How this disease affects you and how you manage it can depend a lot on when it’s found.

People with cancer that is confined to the colon wall have a good chance of survival if detected early. However, the survival rate is significantly lower if the cancer has spread beyond the colon wall and is detected at an advanced stage.

Regrettably, the majority of colorectal cancer is not detected early, even though it can be.

Preventing Colon Cancer

It’s important to note that even healthy individuals with healthy lifestyles can still develop colorectal cancer. However, prevention and early detection are the best way to combat this disease.

Taking a proactive approach and undergoing regular screenings increases your chances of stopping or detecting colon cancer before it becomes advanced.

Home Test Options for Colorectal Cancer

Home test options have become increasingly popular in recent years due to their convenience. However, their accuracy rates are not high. They also have the potential to give false-negative results, meaning you do have colon cancer and don’t know it. They can’t detect polyps either, which can turn into cancer later.

Home test options include:

  • Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT)
  • Fecal Immunochemical test (FIT)
  • FIT-DNA test: Cologuard

While these tests may be useful in certain situations, colonoscopy remains the gold standard for colorectal cancer screening.

The Lifesaving Power of Colonoscopy

A colonoscopy is an examination of the inside of your large intestine, including the colon, rectum, and anus. An endoscope, a flexible tube with a lighted camera, is inserted into your body to allow your gastroenterologist to view your intestines.

Colonoscopies are preventive, diagnostic, and therapeutic procedures.

Colorectal cancer usually starts from a tiny growth called a polyp. The doctor can find and remove these polyps during the examination before they become cancerous.

Colonoscopy Procedure: What to Expect

Preparing for a colonoscopy is crucial for a successful procedure. You will be asked to adjust your diet and take a laxative formula to clear your large intestine.

On the day of the procedure, you will be sedated to ensure you experience no pain or discomfort during the procedure.

A trained gastroenterologist will perform the colonoscopy. They will insert the colonoscope through your anus and slowly advance it through your colon, inflating your colon with air for a better view.

The procedure takes around 30 minutes, and if they find anything abnormal, they will take a biopsy sample for examination under a microscope.

After the procedure, you’ll spend about an hour recovering and waking up from the anesthesia. Your doctor will then discuss the findings with you.

You will likely be able to resume your normal activities the following day.

Screening Can Safe Your Life

Colorectal cancer is one of the few types of cancer we can stop before it starts.

Your first colonoscopy should occur around age 45 unless your doctor recommends starting earlier. Factors such as diet, physical activity, and genetic predisposition can affect your risk for colorectal cancer, since there isn’t just one cause of colon cancer. Consult your doctor now to assess your risk and determine the most suitable timing for your screening.

Colonoscopies can spot early warning signs. Taking action can find problems early, when treatment works best, and increase your chance of beating the disease. Schedule your colonoscopy today!

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