Colon Cancer Essentials
Dr. Theodore Parins, General Surgery: Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of death from cancer in people. It carries a lifetime risk of 5.4%, which is 1 in 19 people that suffer from colorectal cancer. The unfortunate thing about colon cancer is you don't get symptoms until very late in the process for most people, but signs, specifically of colon cancer, can be bleeding, seen from the rectum, bloating, anemia, or feeling tired and discomfort.
Most of the time, those symptoms are not due to a colon cancer, but the best way to prevent a colon cancer is to get a colonoscopy and try to prevent colon cancer from happening by removing polyps.
Age is the biggest risk factor for colon cancer. Being over age 50 puts you at moderate risk and you should undergo a colonoscopy to look for polyps, and remove any polyps that would be present.
It's estimated that it takes about 10 years for a cell to turn from normal into a cancer, or a polyp into a cancer, but it is a very long process. Some people do have genetic changes that will predispose them to having cancers. If you have a first-degree relative with colon cancer, then you should have a colonoscopy 10 years before the age that they were diagnosed. Up to 90% of these cancers can be prevented by performing a colonoscopy and removing the polyps.
I think it's very important to let your doctor know all the symptoms that you're having. There's really nothing that you should be embarrassed to tell your doctor, so that we can provide the correct diagnosis and plan of care in order to correct the situation.
If you have questions about a colonoscopy or would like to make an appointment, call us at 608-643-3311.
Sauk Prairie Healthcare
260 26th Street
Prairie du Sac, WI 53578