Why Should You Get Screened for Colorectal Cancer?


What can you do to keep your colon healthy? You are not alone if you are wondering where to start regarding your colon health. Adequate amounts of physical activity, a well-balanced diet, and regular health evaluations are some of the ways to protect your health as you become older.

Colon and rectal cancer is among the most commonly occurring but preventable cancers because of the screenings that are available for detecting this health concern. Learning about your colon health could be as easy as requesting a visit at Gastroenterology Consultants. Our Houston, TX gastroenterology team can help guide you toward maintaining your future health.

Why are colorectal cancer screenings so important?

Per the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer affects the lives of nearly 4% of adults in the United States. That is around 1 in 25 people. Fortunately, though, colon or rectal cancer can be avoided when it is found in the beginning stages.

In the majority of cases, colorectal cancers arise as a growth (clump of cellular material) on the internal wall of the rectum or colon. Such growths are referred to as polyps. It is rare to experience symptoms when polyps are present, which means that a colon cancer screening is important for diagnosing them. With routine screenings, you can help safeguard your general and GI health by having these growths removed before they develop into cancer. It is also crucial to schedule a screening if you experience one or more of the following symptoms:

Why is colorectal cancer so prevalent?

Although there is no clear explanation of why colorectal cancer has become more common over the years, several factors might increase the risk of developing it. Staying informed and becoming familiar with the risk factors for this cancer can allow you to remain observant and make good choices for the future. Some of the risk factors for colorectal cancer are:

  • A personal history of colorectal cancer
  • Genetic history of colon or rectal cancer
  • Being diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis)
  • Tobacco use
  • Inadequate amount of exercise
  • A diet insufficient in vegetables and fruits
  • A low-fat and high-fat diet
  • A diet that incorporates a high quantity of processed meat

We encourage you to schedule a consultation with a Gastroenterology Consultants GI specialist. Our Houston, TX team can help you learn more about colon and rectal cancer and how you can take the path toward future health and wellness.

How often should you undergo a colorectal cancer exam?

It is recommended to obtain your initial colon cancer screening at age 45 if you are at normal risk for developing colon cancer and every ten years following. The risk of having polyps and colorectal cancer becomes greater with age. Therefore, the more colon cancer screenings you undergo, the earlier a concern can be diagnosed. Beginning at 75, you will need to undergo colon exams based on your overall health and your gastroenterologist's recommendation.

A personal or familial history of polyps or colon cancer places you in the significantly higher risk category. If you are in this significant high risk group, you will likely require a colonoscopy procedure at least once every five years. It is better to know the status of your colon health and wellness rather than to question if you should arrange for a consultation. A routine screening for colon or rectal cancer, or a colonoscopy, typically takes under an hour to perform. This test is an optimal way to review the condition of your colon and identify any modifications you can make to keep your colon in good health moving forward.

Schedule your colon cancer screening in Houston, TX today

A periodic colon cancer screening can help safeguard your future health. The American Cancer Society reports that around 144,000 new cases of colorectal cancer are diagnosed each year. Fight that number today by requesting a colon cancer exam at Gastroenterology Consultants in Houston, TX. If you have concerns or questions about the exam or your colon health, we encourage you to discuss them with your gastrointestinal specialist during your consultation.