Colon cancer is one of the cancers that can be prevented in many people if they follow some important steps. Like any cancer, the earlier someone suspects that there is something unusual going on in their bodies, and trying to do something about it, the better the chances are for cancer prevention.
No one seems to be certain as to what causes colon cancer, but there are some risks that have been pretty well established. The chances of developing colon cancer are higher if there is a history of ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, or if several people in the family has had colon cancer.
Age plays a role also. Most cases occur in people who are over 65. Very few under the age of forty have been reported.
It is important to see a proctologist, who is a specialist in this field, beginning at the age of 50. If you need a recommendation, ask your general physician or your health provider. There are four common screening tests that are used to detect if there are any changes in the colon.
There is the digital test that is used for a rectal exam. This is when the physician puts a finger in the anus to see if there is anything unusual. This is not the most recommended because a finger can not go up far enough to see if there is anything suspicious looking in the colon.
There is a stool test that can be performed by a general physician. This is when examples of the patient’s stools are taken to find out if there is any blood. This is done by testing the blood chemically.
The third screening test is what is known as the sigmoidoscopy. This is when the doctor puts an instrument in the rectum to see if there is any bleeding in the rectum or lower colon. This is considered to be an important examination because it is reported that 80% of cancers and polyps (growths) that might become cancer can be found by this method.
The fourth test is the most important because it is a very detailed test. It is the colonoscopy. This is when the doctor goes deep into the colon. Because it can be uncomfortable, the patient is anesthetized during this procedure.
Now that we have found out the various tests for colon cancer, let’s find out how we can help prevent colon cancer or other types of cancer from occurring.
Scientists indicate that high fat diet can increase the risk of breast and colon cancer. It is important to have fiber in the diet. Foods high in fiber include whole-grain cereals, whole grain breads, beans, potatoes, brown rice, fruits and vegetables.
The American Cancer Society recommends that starting at age 50, there should be a stool blood test every year, a sigmoidoscopy every three to five years, and a colonoscopy every 5 to 10 years.
Source: A Practical Guide to Everyday Health Decisions