Why women need to get screened for colon cancer

Why Women Need to Get Screened for Colon Cancer

Posted on October 20, 2018

Breast cancer awareness is important, and you and your friends may be wearing pink this October to remind everyone of that.

However, statistics show you should be wearing blue as well, to remind women how important it is to get their colon cancer screenings.

Colon cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death and has long been thought of as a disease of older people, predominantly men. However, rates are increasing rapidly in the under-55 age group, and the disease is found in more women than men. A recent study found that colorectal cancer rates are up 62 percent among white females under the age of 49. 

That Means You Need to Be Aware of Two Things:

  • The symptoms of colon cancer

and

  • Your colon cancer risk

Colon Cancer Symptoms

The first thing to understand about colon cancer symptoms is that often, they are non-existent. 

Most older Americans diagnosed with colon cancer have no symptoms at all, which means that it’s important to get screened even if you don’t have any symptoms.

However, possible symptoms to look out for are:

  • Changes in bowel habits (increased constipation, diarrhea, or narrowing of stools)
  • The feeling that you need to have a bowel movement but being unable to do so when you try
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Dark stools or blood in stool
  • Cramping or abdominal (tummy) pain
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Unintended weight loss

If you have any of these symptoms, put aside your embarrassment and schedule an appointment with your physician immediately. You may not like the idea of discussing your bowel habits with anyone, but your doctor will have heard it all before and is your life less important than a little embarrassment?

Your Colon Cancer Risk

All women are at average risk of colon cancer at the age of 50, but in light of recent research, the American Cancer Society recently lowered the recommended age for first-time colon cancer screenings to 45 years old.

If you have a condition known as Lynch syndrome, cancer that results from an inherited genetic mutation, you are at greater risk of developing colorectal cancer before the age of 50. You are also at increased risk if a family member has been diagnosed with colorectal cancer or advanced polyps. 

Act Now to Prevent Colon Cancer

More women get their mammograms now than ever before, but a colonoscopy is just as vital. During the procedure, the doctor can remove any abnormalities or pre-cancerous polyps, meaning the procedure does not just screen for colorectal cancer but can help prevent it too. 

If you’re aged 45 or older, it’s time to get screened and if you are under 45 but have symptoms, it’s time to get screened immediately. Don’t delay, because the earlier a diagnosis is made, the more favorable your prognosis. 

If you are experiencing symptoms or need to schedule your screening colonoscopy, contact the expert gastroenterology team at the Digestive Health Center in Reno or fill out an appointment request form and a team member will contact you soon. At the Digestive Health Center in Reno, every GI physician is fellowship-trained in gastroenterology, the medical staff is highly specialized in endoscopic procedures, and you will receive the highest quality of care in a comfortable, private setting for a fraction of what hospitals charge for the same outpatient procedure. Get scheduled to get screened today and save your life!

Learn more about why colon cancer awareness is important to everyone.

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