Colon Cancer Awareness Month: Why It Matters To You
You may be aware of colon cancer yet know very little about it. So, here is the most important thing you should know:
Colon cancer can affect anyone.
Although 90 percent of colon cancers occur in those over 50 years of age, that doesn’t mean you’re not at risk if you’re younger. Colon cancer diagnoses in the 20-49 age group are on the rise, and often people of this age aren’t getting screenings, often leading to late-stage diagnosis. This means it’s vital you know the signs of colon cancer and the importance of screening.
Know the Risk Factors, Signs, and Symptoms
Unfortunately, colon cancer is often symptomless, so be aware if you have a higher risk of colon cancer , such as:
- African American heritage (recommended screening age is 45)
- Having a personal or family history of polyps or colon cancer
However, some people experience these signs and symptoms :
- Changes in bowel habits, e.g. frequent diarrhea or constipation, narrowing of stools, an urge to have a bowel movement but feeling no relief after doing so.
- Rectal bleeding or blood in the stool
- Cramping or abdominal pain
- Weakness or fatigue
- Unintended weight loss
Take Preventive Measures to Fight Colon Cancer
At-home screening kits may seem cheap and co nvenient, but research shows that 13 percent of people using them will get a false positive,1 and only 92 percent of colon cancers and 42 percent of potentially precancerous adenomas are identified.2 If your home kit gives a positive result, you will need to undergo a colonoscopy anyway.
Proper screening is vital. If detected and treated early, the survival rate for colon cancer is 90 percent.6 A colonoscopy can provide the thorough, specific, and accurate screening you need, and it is usually covered by your health insurance unless you’ve wasted that allowance on an at-home screening kit!.
During your colonoscopy, your gastroenterologist will not only check for cancer and other conditions of gastrointestinal distress but also remove any polyps before they can become cancerous.
Schedule Your Colonoscopy
A high-quality colonoscopy is within your reach, you don’t have to pay more to get the best. Choose a fellowship-trained gastroenterologist with a high adenoma detection rate (ADR)4 and book your appointment at an independent ambulatory surgery center with industry-leading AAAHC and CMS safety and quality certifications . Procedures at these centers typically cost much less than they do at a hospital or hospital-affiliated center5.
Book your colonoscopy with confidence at one of the state-of-the-art, AAAHC and CMS certified San Antonio Gastroenterology and Endoscopy Centers. They are staffed by fellowship-trained and board-certified gastroenterologists and are supported by highly experienced support staff. Costs are low and the centers accept most insurance plans , plus cash pricing and payment options are also available. You will also find accessible parking and convenient curbside patient drop-off and pick-up at every center. Request an appointment or learn more about San Antonio Gastroenterology Endoscopy Centers.
- Bailey, J., Aggarwal, A., and Imperiale, T. (2016). Colorectal Cancer Screening: Stool DNA and Other Noninvasive Modalities. Gut and Liver, 10(2), p.204.
- Pickhardt, P. (2016). Emerging stool-based and blood-based non-invasive DNA tests for colorectal cancer screening: the importance of cancer prevention in addition to cancer detection. Abdominal Radiology, 41(8), pp.1441-1444.
- Peters, S., Hasan, A., Jacobson, N. and Austin, G. (2010). Level of Fellowship Training Increases Adenoma Detection Rates. Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, 8(5), pp.439-442.
- Giquic.gi.org. (2018). GI Quality Improvement Consortium. [online] Available at: http://giquic.gi.org/index.asp [Accessed 3 Jan. 2018].
- Dyrda, L. (2018). Colonoscopies in HOPDs cost Medicare 164% more than physician-owned offices: 5 key trends. [online] Beckersasc.com. Available at: https://www.beckersasc.com/asc-coding-billing-and-collections/colonoscopies-in-hopds-cost-medicare-164-more-than-physician-owned-offices-5-key-trends.html [Accessed 3 Jan. 2018].