There are many risk factors for colorectal cancer. Consequently, many people should take the time to request a colon cancer screening. If you're unsure whether you meet the criteria for a screening, you should consider scheduling one if you have any of the three following reasons to do so.
Your simplest reason for requesting a colorectal cancer screening is that your age matches the medical guidelines. The CDC encourages anyone who is between the ages of 45 and 75 and hasn't had a screening to arrange one as soon as possible. People above the age of 75 should consult with their doctors about making a screening schedule based on their histories.
Once you've had a screening, you and your doctor should discuss how often you ought to come back. Scheduling a full colonoscopy every 10 years is a common recommendation. Less invasive testing may occur every 5 years, and some folks might do stool testing annually.
Notably, a doctor can often address colon issues during a colonoscopy. These include problems like polyps and even some smaller cancerous growths.
Any adult who comes from a family with a history of colon cancer should talk to their doctor immediately about scheduling a screening if they've never had one. Especially if you've had family members who've developed colorectal cancer before the guideline ages, err on the side of caution. Let the doctor hear whatever you do know about your family's history. It is also a good idea to talk with your family members who have had cancer to learn when they think they first develop symptoms of the disease.
You and your doctor will then have to decide how regularly you need a colorectal cancer screening. Generally, a doctor will want to see more aggressive and frequent screenings when patients have family histories.
Potential Signs of Colon Cancer
If you see blood on the toilet paper when you wipe after going to the bathroom, that's a potential sign of cancer. Even if you're confident that it might be due to something else like hemorrhoids, exercise caution and arrange a screening. Bear in mind that some rectal issues can encourage cancer growth.
You might also experience abdominal pain and weight loss. Many people also feel fatigued. Frequently, these people request blood screenings and learn that they have anemia. In the absence of a clear explanation, colon cancer screening is a good idea. Even if it doesn't turn up colorectal cancer, it at least eliminates one possibility.