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Early Prevention of Colon Cancer is the Key!

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second-leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States, with approximately 50,000 deaths and 150,000 new cases annually. Screening allows more colorectal cancers to be found earlier, when the disease is easier to cure. Even more cases can be prevented if adenomas can be removed before they become malignant, making colonoscopy an important tool in the fight against colorectal cancers.(1)

Colorectal cancer typically develops from an abnormal tissue growth called a polyp (PAH-lup). During a colonoscopy, your doctor will examine the lining of your colon to check for polyps using a flexible tube with a small camera and light at the tip called a colonoscope (kuh-LAH-nuh-scope). This instrument is inserted through the anus and passed through the full length of the colon.

If necessary, your doctor can remove polyps and other abnormal tissues during the colonoscopy procedure. The tissue is then sent to the laboratory for further testing.

Colon Anatomy--large intestine, ascending, transverse, descending, sigmoid, rectum, anus

Doctors recommend having the first test performed around 50 years of age. Depending on what is found during your first colonoscopy, your next exam may be scheduled anywhere from one to 10 years later. Colonoscopy may be recommended before the age of 50 and be repeated frequently if you have certain risk factors.

What is a Colon Polyp?

A colon polyp is an abnormal lump of tissue that grows on the colon lining. Polyps in the colon are very common, especially in older adults. Most polyps are not cancerous, but there may be a few that can develop into colon cancer over time. Polyps found during colonoscopy are removed because it is not possible to determine which ones will become cancerous just by looking at them. Removed polyps will be sent to a lab for testing to look for cancerous cells.

Colon Polyp

Usually, you do not experience any symptoms with a colon polyp. However, if polyps become large enough, they can cause symptoms such as bleeding from the rectum, diarrhea, constipation, a change in stool, or going to the bathroom more or less often than usual. Most importantly, large polyps can become cancerous.

This is why regular colonoscopy screening to detect and remove polyps early is very important in preventing colon cancer.

Now an advanced technology makes finding polyps easier »

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