March is Colorectal cancer awareness month, and many physicians and gastroenterologists root for the Colon Cancer Screening test as it saves lives. Colorectal cancer, generally known as Colon Cancer or Rectal Cancer, is only one of the very few cancers that can be prevented. With the help of screening colonoscopies, doctors can find and remove polyps which are precancerous growths in the colon and rectum. These polyps transform into cancers if left in place.
Therefore, you should get a cancer screening test timely to diagnose and treat colon and rectal cancer.
Table of Contents
What is Colorectal Cancer?
Colorectal cancer grows in the colon or the rectum of the body; therefore, it is also termed rectal cancer or colon cancer based on where it starts. Both colon and rectal cancer are grouped because they have several features in common. The colon is basically the large intestine, and the rectum connects the colon with the anus. In colorectal cancer, abnormal growths known as polyps start developing in the colon or rectum.
Colorectal cancer is equally prevalent in both men and women, and it typically occurs around the age of 50 and above. However, in the UAE, studies have shown it to be more prevalent at a younger age. The Health Authority of Abu Dhabi (HAAD) recommends colon screening in both men and women between 40-75. Colonoscopies are the most efficient way to screen colon cancer.
What are the Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer?
Irrespective of age or risk factors, if a patient is experiencing the following symptoms, they should be checked out immediately:
- Rectal Bleeding.
- Blood in the stool after having a bowel movement.
- Dark or black-colored stool.
- Change in stool caliber like narrowing of stools or change in shape.
- Pain or cramping in the lower abdomen.
- Change in bowel habits like sudden constipation or diarrhea
- Unexplained weight loss or anemia
What is Colonoscopy?
Colonoscopy is a procedure that allows the gastroenterologist to view the inside of the colon and detect abnormal growths. Also, it enables the physician to remove precancerous growths such as polyps before they can turn into cancers. Most people do not realize that polyps and early cancers do not cause symptoms or warning signs that would alert one to see a gastroenterologist.
Other tests are available for colon cancer screening, but colonoscopy remains the gold standard. Although there is a slight risk to the procedure, most people find a colonoscopy to be both painless and uneventful, except for drinking laxatives beforehand.
At What Age Should You Get Colonoscopy?
For certain races and nationalities, it is recommended that screening begins at the age of 50 or earlier in both sexes. In Africans and African Americans, screening is recommended to start at the age of 45. In the UAE, the Health Authority of Abu Dhabi recommends colon cancer screening beginning at 40 in both males and females.
Screening should be individualized and start much earlier in certain individuals with a higher risk of colon cancer. The following individuals are more susceptible to colon cancer:
- Those with a family history of colon cancer.
- Those with genetic predisposition like familial polyposis or Lynch syndrome.
- Those with Inflammatory bowel disease like ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease.
- Those who are obese and smoke or drink alcohol heavily.
- Those who consume red meat excessively or are deficient in calcium.
The Final Words
Colon or rectal cancer is widespread, but it can also be treated if diagnosed on time. For this purpose, you need a cancer screening test like a colonoscopy that helps detect the polyps and removes them. Visit a well-reputed medical facility like Euromed Clinic Center for a cancer screening test if you want high-quality services. We have internationally recognized and board-certified doctors to serve you. Please fill in the online form provided below to book your appointment at our clinic.