Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the US.
Did you know that recommended screenings could prevent 60% of these deaths. March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness month, so it’s the perfect time to check with your doctor to ensure you are up to date with your screenings.
Rectal and Colon Cancer Risk Factors
There are several risk factors that could increase your chance of developing colorectal cancer and may require that you get screened earlier or more frequently.
You may be at risk if you:
- Are older than 50
- Are overweight or not physically active
- Smoke or use tobacco
- Drink alcohol in excess
- Eat a lot of red meat or processed meat
- Have a history of colorectal cancer, polyps, or IBD
Colorectal Cancer Screenings in Atlanta
There are many screenings that should be done to check for colorectal cancer, yet almost 28 million Americans are not up-to-date on their screenings. Here’s what you should know about each type of screening you need between the ages of 50 and 75:
Colonoscopy – a procedure where your doctor will look inside your entire colon and rectum for early signs of colorectal cancer. Polyps, a growth along the lining of the intestine, may be removed in the event that they are cancerous or to prevent them from becoming cancerous. A colonoscopy should be done every 10 years.
Flexible sigmoidoscopy – a procedure to check for early signs of cancer in the rectum and lower colon. Your doctor may need to take biopsies or remove polyps during the procedure, and it should be done every 5 years.
Double-contrast barium enema – a test performed every 5 years, although colonoscopies recently have been done more often. X-rays are taken of the large intestine after liquid containing barium, a contrast material, is inserted into the rectum.
Stool occult blood test (FOBT) – a stool sample usually collected at home with a test kit and then sent to a lab. This should be done every year.
Stool immunochemical test (FIT) – looks for blood in the stool, which can be an early sign of cancer. This test is recommended every year.
Talk with your doctor at Piedmont Colorectal Associates about the best screening options for you, and whether you need colorectal cancer screenings earlier or more often. Piedmont Colorectal Associates, PC is also the ONLY colorectal practice at Piedmont Hospital to offer convenient Saturday Colonoscopies, but these fill up fast, so call soon at (404) 351-7900.