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Colon cancer is cancer of the large intestine (the lower part of the digestive system). Cancer of the colon is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States and, if caught early, it’s also one of the most curable. Most cases begin silently, as a polyp that causes few symptoms. Some people are at higher risk and should be screened early. Know the risk factors associated with colon problems:

  • Advancing age, i.e., over age 50
  • A high-fat diet
  • Smoking
  • A family (i.e., sibling or parent) or personal history of colorectal cancer
  • A history of polyps or growths inside the colon and rectum
  • Certain conditions that elevate your risk, such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
  • Ovarian, endometrial or breast cancer
  • Diabetes - People with Type II diabetes have a 40 percent increased risk of colon cancer
  • Ethnic background - African Americans have the highest number of colorectal cancer cases in the United States

The American Cancer Society strongly recommends all adults over age 45 to begin routine colon cancer screenings. Colonoscopy is a test that allows your doctor to look at the inner lining of your large intestine (rectum and colon) to help find ulcers, colon polyps, tumors and areas of inflammation or bleeding. Colonoscopy can also be used as a screening test to check for cancer or precancerous growths in the colon or rectum (polyps).

The colonoscope is a thin, flexible tube with a small video camera attached so that your doctor can take pictures or video of the large intestine (colon). The colonoscope can be used to look at the whole colon and the lower part of the small intestine. During a colonoscopy, the doctor may remove tissue and/or polyps for further examination and possibly treat any problems that are discovered.

To schedule an appointment or find out more information about colon health or colonoscopies, please call our screening coordinator at 325-428-5507.