Colon cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the U.S. Early stage colon cancer may not present any symptoms. That's why having a colonoscopy procedure at age 50 is so important. Other intestinal problems such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and sometimes diverticulosis may be a warning sign that the colon needs to be checked. The most important symptom is blood in the stool. The blood may or may not be related to cancer, but it is very important to be checked promptly by your physician.
Other warning signs of colon cancer:
- Lower abdominal pain
- A hard abdominal mass
- Changes in the consistency of the stool after several weeks
- Diarrhea lasting more than several days
- Significant change in bowel habits including diarrhea or constipation
- Chronic colon problems with bowel movements which would include abdominal pain during bowel movement
- Obstruction of bowel movements
- Narrow stools
- Persistent abdominal pain or discomfort, such as cramps, gas pain
- A feeling that the bowel doesn't empty completely
- Iron deficiency anemia (may indicate bleeding in the colon)
- Rectal bleeding or blood in the stool
- Weight loss, significant and or unexplained
If you have a family history of colon cancer, or are an African American male, you are at high risk. The American Cancer Society recommends anyone age 50 or older be screened for colon cancer. If you're at average risk, you only need to be screened once every 10 years1.
A colonoscopy is an outpatient procedure performed by a physician with expertise in diagnosing colon cancer. Known as the "gold standard," colonoscopies provide a thorough check of the colon and rectum. They are much more comfortable today and are the best way to check for colorectal cancer or pre-cancerous polyps. More about screening tests >>
Schedule a colonoscopy
To schedule your colonoscopy or an appointment with a Community gastroenterologist, call 800-777-7775.