what is colonoscopy - colon cancer factsColorectal cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers among American women and men. In fact, the American Cancer Society estimates that 103,170 new cases of colon cancer occur each year, and lists colon cancer as the 2nd leading causes of cancer death in the U.S. Despite these seemingly dire colon cancer facts, there is some good news: you can do a great deal to reduce your risk of developing colon cancer.

If you are concerned about colon cancer, or your colorectal health in general, the best thing you can do is schedule a colonoscopy screening with the board-certified colorectal surgeons and gastroenterologists at the Colonoscopy Center of Excellence, a division of La Peer Health Systems. Our Beverly-Hills based team can help ensure your continued colorectal health.

Help yourself by staying informed about the latest facts and statistics involving colon cancer.

Colon Cancer FactsColon Cancer Facts

A cancer of the large intestine, colon cancer forms from growths like polyps and tumors that occur along the wall of the intestine. Although it is the second most commonly occurring cancer in the United States, colon cancer progresses slowly. If detected early, colon cancer is very treatable. This makes colon cancer prevention extremely important.

Who Gets Colon Cancer?

As is the case with most cancers, it is possible for anyone to develop colon cancer at some point in his or her life. However, certain people are at a greater risk of developing a colorectal cancer than others. Men have a slightly higher risk of getting colon cancer than women. Among ethnic groups, African Americans tend to have an elevated risk of colon cancer.

The experts at the Colonoscopy Center of Excellence recommend that healthy individuals with normal risk factors for colon cancer still have their first colonoscopies at age 50. They should have follow-up screenings every 10 years. African Americans should have colonoscopies beginning at age 45. Anyone with a family history of colon cancer should begin screening 10 years prior to when the youngest relative was diagnosed as well as more frequent future appointments.

To schedule your colonoscopy screening, contact our GI team online or call us today.

What Are the Symptoms of Colon Cancer?

There are a number of symptoms associated with colon cancer. These may include:

  • Blood in the stool
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Changes in bowel habits
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Unexplained weight loss

If you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms, don’t hesitate to schedule a colonoscopy with our experienced surgical team. Unfortunately, many of these symptoms do not appear during the earliest stages of colon cancer. Regular colonoscopies are the best way to guard against colon cancer and promote good general colorectal health.

How Is Colon Cancer Detected and What Is Colonoscopy?

There are a number of methods our GI team uses to screen for colon cancer. The surgeon may order a stool test to check the bowel movements for blood or a sigmoidoscopy exam to view the lower part of the colon. A colonoscopy is one of the most effective ways to screen for colorectal cancer, and the best method of obtaining a biopsy of the colon.

During a colonoscopy procedure, our surgeons will examine the large and small intestines using a colonoscope, which is a four-foot flexible tube about the width of a finger. The colonoscope has a camera and light, which allow the surgeon to perform a visual inspection and locate any ulcers, colon polyps, tumors or areas of inflammation. A colonoscopy is also the method by which a surgeon removes colon tissue for biopsy. A pathologist will examine the biopsied tissue under a microscope for cancer and pre-cancerous cells.

How Is the Disease Treated?

The good news is that, when detected early, colon cancer is very treatable. Common methods of treatment for colorectal cancers include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation treatments. If your colonoscopy does yield an abnormal result, our physicians will sit down with you to go over your treatment options in a respectful and compassionate manner.

Other Colon Cancer Statistics

Here are some facts and statistics you may not know about colon cancer:

  • Colorectal cancers kill more people each year than either breast or prostate cancer.
  • Without special risk factors, you have a 1 in 7 chance of developing colon cancer at some point.
  • Studies have shown that colonoscopy detects and removes 98% of colorectal tumors.
  • When it comes to colon cancer, early detection really does save lives.

If you think you may be at risk of colon cancer, or if you’re concerned about your colorectal health, don’t hesitate to contact the GI team at the Colonoscopy Center of Excellence by calling our office today at:  (888) 837-0459, or by scheduling an appointment online.

Next, learn more information about Polyps.