Protect yourself by knowing the early warning signs of colon cancer.
Colon cancer is a condition that can affect both men and women, which is why everyone should know the risk factors, warning signs, and when to visit our Anchorage, AK, gastroenterologists, Dr. Ronald Boisen, Dr. Daryl McClendon, and Dr. Jeffrey Molloy, for a further evaluation. Regular colon cancer screenings are important as they're the most effective way to detect the disease during its earliest and most easily treatable ages.
What are the symptoms of colon cancer?
The symptoms of colon cancer aren’t always that easy to detect because a lot of the earlier warning signs aren’t exclusive to colon cancer. Some of these warning signs include abdominal cramps and changes in bowel habits (e.g. diarrhea; constipation), which could be caused by many different problems; however, it’s more important to understand when you shouldn’t just ignore these symptoms. Symptoms of colon cancer may include,
- Sudden and unexplained weight loss
- Blood in the stool
- Lower abdominal cramps
- Changes in the appearance of your stools
If in doubt, call our Anchorage, AK, GI doctors to let us know what symptoms you are experiencing. From this, we will be able to gauge whether or not you need to come in for a further evaluation.
Who is at risk for colon cancer?
Both men and women are at risk for colon cancer. While there certainly are risk factors that can increase your chances, many people who are diagnosed with colon cancer don’t have risk factors. Family history will play a role in whether or not you develop colon cancer or polyps.
Along with heredity, if you have a history of inflammatory bowel disease, this can also increase your chances of developing colon cancer. Other risk factors include a sedentary lifestyle, a poor diet, heavy alcohol consumption, and being overweight or obese.
How is colon cancer diagnosed?
The most effective way to diagnose colon cancer is through a colonoscopy. Regardless of whether or not you are experiencing symptoms, once you turn 50 years old, you should start coming in for routine colonoscopies. This is something both men and women need to do. A colonoscopy will allow our gastroenterologist to be able to view the inside of the rectum and colon to look for and remove colon polyps, which could develop into cancer.
Is it time to schedule your first colon cancer screening? Do you want to talk to us about digestive symptoms you are experiencing? If so, we have offices in both Anchorage and Eagle River, AK, to better serve you. Call Alaska Digestive and Liver Disease today at (907) 569-1333.