Colon cancer is preventable, yet it's still the second leading cause of cancer deaths. You can prevent the disease with colon cancer screening from the board-certified physicians at Michiana Gastroenterology, Inc. To learn about your risk for colon cancer or to schedule a screening, schedule an appointment or book online today. The practice has four offices, located in La Porte and Plymouth, Indiana, and two in South Bend, Indiana, on Generations Drive and in The South Bend Clinic on North Eddy Street.
Colon cancer screening detects cancer before you have any signs or symptoms. Getting colon cancer screening at the recommended age protects your health and potentially saves your life. Screening is important because this type of cancer doesn’t usually present with symptoms warning you about the disease until it reaches an advanced stage and may have spread.
The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) and the American Cancer Society recommend that people with an average risk for colon cancer have their first screening at age 45.
However, if you have a high risk of developing colon cancer, you should have earlier screening. Your risk is high if you have any of the following:
If you're not sure about when to start screening, schedule a consultation at Michiana Gastroenterology, Inc. They can do a risk assessment and recommend the best screening schedule for your health.
You can have two types of screening:
After getting a testing kit, you take a stool sample at home and send it to the lab. Stool tests detect hidden blood, DNA from colon cancer cells, or both. If you have a positive stool test, you need to schedule a colonoscopy to find and treat the source of the blood and DNA.
A colonoscopy is a minimally invasive procedure using a long, thin, flexible tube. A video camera in the scope sends high-quality images of the inside of your colon to a monitor.
Your provider guides the scope through your anus and rectum and into the large intestine (colon). Then they keep the scope moving through the colon, closely examining the area along the wall. After reaching the small intestine, they slowly withdraw the scope as they once again view your colon on the monitor.
The goal of a colonoscopy is to find and remove polyps that grow from the colon wall. Polyps are benign (noncancerous) when they first develop, but over the years they can turn into cancer. Virtually all colon cancers begin as polyps.
During a colonoscopy, your provider removes all polyps. This prevents cancer from forming and also gets rid of cancerous polyps. Eliminating a cancerous polyp cures the disease if it hasn't spread beyond the polyp.
If you want a risk assessment or need to schedule colon cancer screening, call Michiana Gastroenterology, Inc, or book an appointment online today.