By Danish Ahmed Blog Published on - 15 April - 2023

The Importance of Colon Cancer Screening

Colorectal cancer, as per the American Cancer Society, ranks third in terms of the frequency of its diagnosis and is the second leading cause of cancer-related mortality in the United States. Nonetheless, the silver lining is that colon cancer can be averted and cured with high efficacy when detected early through regular screening procedures. This discourse shall delve into the significance of colon cancer screening, the diverse types of screening procedures obtainable, and the recommended timing and frequency of screening.

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What is Colon Cancer?
Cancer that forms in the colon or rectum is known as colon cancer. The growth of this cancer often commences as minuscule, benign cell clusters identified as polyps, which gradually transform into malignant cells. Multiple factors can escalate the probability of developing colon cancer, such as old age, familial history of the disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and particular genetic disorders.

The Importance of Early Detection
Colon cancer can often be present without any symptoms, especially in the early stages. That’s why screening for colon cancer is so important. Regular screenings can detect colon cancer early when it is most treatable, increasing the chance of a positive outcome. In fact, early detection and treatment can significantly increase the survival rate for colon cancer.
Types of Colon Cancer Screenings
There are several different types of colon cancer screenings available, including:
1. Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT)
The fecal occult blood examination (FOBT) is a straightforward and noninvasive assay that can identify haemoglobin in fecal matter, a potential indicator of colorectal carcinoma. It is advised that people undergo this evaluation on an annual basis.
2. Flexible Sigmoidoscopy
A flexible sigmoidoscopy is an examination of the rectum and lower colon using a thin, flexible tube with a camera on the end. This test is recommended every five years.
3. Colonoscopy
A colonoscopy is a more invasive procedure that involves a long, flexible tube with a camera that is inserted into the rectum and advanced through the colon. This test is recommended every 10 years, or more frequently if polyps are found.

Who Should Get Screened?
The American Cancer Society proposes that individuals whose probability of developing colon cancer is moderate should commence periodic checkups at 45 years of age. Those whose susceptibility to the illness is elevated, for example, those with a family history of colon cancer or certain genetic conditions, may require more frequent and earlier screenings.
Colorectal cancer, while a severe ailment, is a condition that can be averted and healed with relative ease. Regular screenings can enable early detection of colorectal cancer, improving the likelihood of a successful resolution. It is advised that individuals aged 45 or above, or those with heightened risks, initiate dialogue with their medical practitioner to establish an appropriate time for their colorectal cancer screening.

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A colonoscopy examines the entire colon, while a flexible sigmoidoscopy only examines the lower portion of the colon.
The American Cancer Society recommends getting a colonoscopy every 10 years, or more frequently if polyps are found.
Colon cancer is highly preventable through regular screenings and making healthy lifestyle choices.
Most insurance plans cover colon cancer screenings, especially for individuals over the age of 45.
Eating a healthy diet, staying physically active, quitting smoking, and getting regular colon cancer screenings can all help reduce your risk of developing colon cancer.