Who gets colon cancer? Who should be screened for colon cancer? There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the best colon cancer screening strategy for an individual may vary based on their personal risk factors.
Do you want to learn more about colon cancer? Are you uncertain if you should be screened regularly? If you fit into these categories, screening is a good idea.
You Have a Family History of Colon Cancer
If you have a close relative who has been diagnosed with colon cancer, your risk of developing the disease is increased.
You should discuss your risks with a doctor and begin screenings earlier than the general population. In many cases, this family history is able to provide life-saving information.
You Are Over 45 Years Old
Age is the greatest risk factor for colon cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends that adults over the age of 45 should begin screenings for colon cancer. This can help catch cancer early before it has devastating health effects on your body.
You Have Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Chronic inflammatory diseases of the colon, such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, could increase your risk of developing colon cancer.
You should talk to your doctor if you notice any irregularities in your bowel movements or digestive system, even if you are already getting treatment for these conditions.
You Smoke Cigarettes
If you smoke, you should be screened for colon cancer more frequently than those who do not smoke. In fact, you should be screened for a variety of other issues more often.
You Have Never Been Screened Before
If you have never been screened for colon cancer and you are over the age of 45, it's time to schedule a screening. This is the best way to catch colon cancer early when it is most treatable.
You Have Certain Genetic Conditions
There are certain inherited genetic conditions, such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) and Lynch syndrome-that could increase your risk of developing colon cancer. A genetic counselor may provide more insight into your health and these conditions.
Your Doctor Recommends a Screening
If you are unsure if you should be screened for colon cancer, your best bet is to ask your doctor. They will be able to assess your individual risk factors and recommend the best course of action.
While there is no sure way to prevent colon cancer, getting screened regularly is the best way to catch it early. As with most cancers, colon cancer testing can help you catch things in earlier stages.