Colon cancer is a serious medical condition, but early detection can go a long way in minimizing its impact. However, to rely on this advantage, you must commit to routine screenings so that any areas of concern can be addressed quickly. If you have never had a colon cancer screening or you have and suspect you are due for an updated one, learn about some of the signs that might indicate you are past due.
Reached Screening Age
One of the first signs that you may be past due for a colon cancer screening is your age. Healthcare professionals recommend that individuals have screenings at a certain age based on their risk level. For individuals with minimal risk for colon cancer who simply want to stay on top of their health, these screenings can begin sometime during their mid-40s. If you have exceeded this age and you have not had a screening performed, it is time to schedule an appointment.
History of Colon Cancer
People who have a history of previous colon cancer should have screenings performed more often than people who have not encountered this disease. In some instances, individuals who had more aggressive forms of colon cancer may require screenings more frequently than someone with a less aggressive form. It is best to speak with your healthcare provider for instructions. If you have a family history of colon cancer and have not had a screening, you may be past time for one as well.
Crohn's Disease Diagnosis
If you are an individual with a diagnosed case of Crohn's disease and you have not had a recent screening, you should make a plan to have the screening performed. Crohn's disease, and other inflammatory bowel diseases, can pose an increased risk for the formation of colon cancer. Again, early detection is critical, so if you have an inflammatory disease, it is best to have this screening performed regularly.
Prior Abdominal Cancer Treatment
Any person treated for abdominal cancer in the past by way of radiation should also commit to routine screenings. If you fall in this category and you have not had a screening performed, you want to do so as soon as possible. Radiation exposure in the abdominal region over an extended period can increase your risk for colon cancer, similar to inflammatory diseases.
If you have questions about whether or not you need to have a colon cancer screening performed, be sure to contact a healthcare professional for additional help.