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Why Skipping Your Colonoscopy May Lead to Colon Cancer

skipping your colonoscopy

When everything is working well, you may not consider your lower digestive tract much. It consists of your colon and rectum, which operate behind the scenes to convert and process what we eat into energy and then pass along the excess as waste. But even the healthiest-seeming colon and rectum can hide a secret – polyps or colorectal cancer. That’s why having regular screening colonoscopies is so important. And why skipping your colonoscopy may lead to colon cancer.

What Is Colon Cancer?

Colorectal cancer originates in either the colon or rectum, which collectively form part of our intestine. The intestine is a winding tube that takes food remnants and prepares them for elimination from our bodies.

  • Colon. Otherwise known as the large intestine, the colon is responsible for absorbing water and nutrients from our food. The remaining waste material is then transformed into feces.
  • Rectum. It acts as a reservoir where waste is stored before it is expelled from our bodies.

Occasionally small growths can develop within this system, called polyps.

Polyps are clumps of abnormal, but benign, cells of various sizes. Over time, some of them can become cancerous.

Colon cancer is one of the most frequently diagnosed cancers in both men and women, posing a significant threat to health.

However, the good news is it can often be treated effectively, mainly if detected early. For this reason, it’s essential to understand how to take measures for prevention and early detection.

Colon Cancer Screening

Screening methods like stool tests may seem appealing due to their noninvasive nature, but they have certain limitations.

While stool tests can identify traces of blood, they cannot detect polyps or tumors. As a result, these methods may fail to identify cancerous precursors, allowing potential cancers to develop unnoticed.

Colonoscopy is widely regarded as the gold standard technique for preventing colorectal cancer since it not only detects the presence of cancer but also allows for removing precancerous polyps before they turn into malignant tumors.

What Is a Colonoscopy?

A colonoscopy is a procedure that involves the use of a tool called a colonoscope, which has a camera to provide your doctor with visual access to your entire colon and rectum. If the doctor finds any polyps, they can be removed during the procedure and sent to the laboratory for testing. This immediate action helps to detect cancer early and prevent its growth or advancement by eliminating suspicious tissue.

Who Needs a Colonoscopy?

The decision to lower the recommended age for screenings to 45 provides an opportunity for detection among a wider population. Your doctor might recommend beginning screenings earlier if you possess specific colon or rectal cancer risk factors.

Don’t Skip Your Colonoscopy

Undergoing a colonoscopy may involve some effort, such as taking time off work and performing a bowel prep procedure. However, advancements in colon prep solutions and the fact that you may only need to undergo this procedure once every 3-10 years make these inconveniences relatively insignificant compared to the benefits.

It’s important to realize that a colonoscopy is not just a medical procedure. It’s an investment in your overall health, and among screening options, it has the greatest potential to save your life.

Don’t take any chances with colon cancer by ignoring or delaying a colonoscopy or missing early warning signs. Remember, the key is detecting the disease early and preventing it entirely.

When it comes to protection against colon cancer, nothing beats a colonoscopy – schedule yours today!

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