According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, colon or colorectal cancer is the second leading cancer that causes death in the U.S. The good news is that colon cancer can be prevented through early screening and prompt treatment.
Here at the Alaska Digestive and Liver Disease Clinic, our gastroenterologists, Dr. Daryl McClendon, Dr. Austin Nelson, and Dr. Jeffrey Molloy, use various colon cancer screening tests to pinpoint precancerous polyps before they become cancer. We offer these tests at our Eagle River and Anchorage, AK, locations. To determine whether you need colon cancer screening, you first need to know what it is.
What Do Colon Cancer Screening Tests Do?
In most cases, colon cancer develops from abnormal precancerous growths or polyps in the rectum or colon. Colon cancer screening tests are capable of finding these precancerous growths so that doctors can remove them prior to them turning into actual cancer. These tests can likewise identify cancer in its earliest stages when treatment will be most effective.
Screening Guidelines for Colorectal Cancer
Approximately 90% of new colon cancer cases occur in individuals who are 50 years old and older. That being said, regular screenings starting at 50 years old is key to colon cancer prevention. According to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, adults must be screened for colon cancer at age 50 to 75. For individuals who are between the ages of 76 and 85, they should ask their doctor for specific recommendations. Aside from colonoscopy, the USPSTF also recommends screening tests such as stool tests, CT colonography, and flexible sigmoidoscopy.
When Should I Start Getting Colon Cancer Screenings?
In general, it’s best to start screenings when you turn 50 and continue to receive yearly screenings until you’re 75. However, you might have to be screened earlier than 50 years old if:
- You’ve had colon cancer or colorectal polyps
- You have a close relative with a history of colon cancer
- You suffer from an inflammatory bowel disease like ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease
- You have a hereditary disease like non-polyposis colon cancer or familial adenomatous polyposis
If you have an elevated risk of developing colon cancer, talk to our gastroenterologist in our Eagle River or Anchorage, AK, office to find out when to start screening, how often you should be screened, and which screening tests are best for your case.
Concerned About Colon Cancer? Talk to Us
Dial (907) 569-1333 to set your appointment with one of our gastroenterologists, Dr. Daryl McClendon, Dr. Austin Nelson, or Dr. Jeffrey Molloy, here at the Alaska Digestive and Liver Disease Clinic. You can choose between our Eagle River and Anchorage, AK, locations.