When Should You Get Screened for Colorectal Cancer?


How can you keep your colon in optimal health? You are not alone if you’ve ever wondered where to start when it comes to maintaining your colon health. Adequate amounts of physical activity, good nutritional habits, and regular health evaluations are key methods to maintain your health as you age.

Colon and rectal cancer is one of the most prevalent but preventable cancers due to the tests available for identifying this disease. Taking charge of your colorectal health can be as easy as requesting an appointment at Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates. Our New Orleans, LA gastroenterologists can help guide you toward maintaining your future health.

Why are colon and rectal cancer exams essential?

Per the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer impacts the health of approximately 4% of adults in the United States, which equates to around 1 out of every 25 people. The good news is that colon cancer can be prevented if it is found in the initial stages.

Most colon cancers arise as a growth (cluster of cellular material) on the inner wall of the large intestine (colon) or rectum. Such growths are called polyps. It's uncommon to experience symptoms with polyps, which means that a colon cancer screening is vital for identifying them. With routine examinations, you’re helping safeguard your GI and general health by having any growths excised before they develop into cancer. It's also essential, however, to arrange for a colon cancer screening should you experience one or more of the following symptoms:

Why is colorectal cancer so common?

Although there isn't a clear explanation of why colorectal cancer has become more widespread over time, a few specific factors might elevate the risk of colorectal cancer. Remaining informed and knowing the risk factors can help you remain mindful and make good decisions for the future. Some of the risk factors for colon and rectal cancer include:

  • A prior history of colorectal cancer
  • A diet insufficient in vegetables and fruits
  • Lack of exercise
  • Genetic history of colon cancer
  • Being diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease)
  • A low-fat and high-fat diet
  • A diet that includes a high quantity of processed meat
  • Being a tobacco user

We invite you to request an appointment with a Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates gastrointestinal specialist. Our New Orleans, LA staff can explain more about colon and rectal cancer and how to remain on the path toward future health and wellness.

How frequently should I undergo a colon cancer test?

It's advised that you undergo your first colon screening upon turning 45 years of age when you have an average risk for developing colorectal cancer, and every ten years after that. The risk of polyps and bowel cancer becomes greater as you become older. Therefore, the more frequently you schedule a colon cancer test, the earlier an abnormality can be detected. Upon turning 75, you’ll need to undergo a screening based on your general health and your GI provider's recommendations.

Knowing that having a familial or personal history of polyps or colon cancer puts you in the significantly higher risk category is essential. If you’re in this significant high-risk bracket, you’ll likely require a colonoscopy at least once every five years. It’s better to understand the status of your colorectal health and wellness than to wonder if you should request a GI appointment. A standard screening for colon or rectal cancer, better known as a colonoscopy, will typically take under an hour to complete. This screening is an excellent way to learn the current status of your colon health and what changes you can make to keep your colon in good health.

Schedule your colon cancer screening in New Orleans, LA today

Having colon cancer screenings on a regular basis can help preserve your future health. The American Cancer Society reports that approximately 144,000 new cases of colorectal cancer get are diagnosed each year. Fight that number today by setting up a colon cancer screening at Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates in New Orleans, LA. If you have questions or concerns about the screening or your colon health, feel free to discuss them with your gastrointestinal specialist during your visit.