Colon Cancer Awareness
Approximately 600 men and women in Idaho will be diagnosed with colorectal rectal cancer this year.
If you are 50 or over, now is the time to talk to your doctor about colon cancer screenings.
What is the colon?
The colon, a segment of the large intestine, is the final part of the digestive system. Its primary responsibilities include water absorption and waste management and elimination.
What factors might affect me?
Cancer is caused by a DNA change inside of specific cells. In most cases, colorectal cancer is caused by a polyp, a small growth in the colon or rectum, that has become cancerous.
As with most cancers, some individuals have a higher risk of colorectal cancer due to specific habitual and genetic risk factors, including:
Habitual Risk Factors
- Physical Inactivity
- Diet high in red and processed meat
- Heavy alcohol consumption
Genetic Risk Factors
- Family history of colorectal cancer
- Personal history of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
- Race (African Americans and Jews of Eastern European descent are at a greater risk)
What should I do?
Individuals ages 50 to 75 should receive regular screenings to ensure cancerous polyps have not formed in the colon or rectum. Some of the screenings a doctor might suggest include:
Stool Tests: A series of tests done to detect the amount of blood in the stool.
Flexible Sigmoidoscopy: A test in which a doctor puts a small, flexible tube into the rectum to check for polyps and cancer. In this test, the doctor will only check the lower third of the colon.
Colonoscopy: Much like the Flexible Sigmoidoscopy, a doctor will put a small, flexible tube into the rectum to check for polyps and cancer. During this test, the doctor will check the entire colon.
CT Colonography: This test is a virtual colonoscopy. During this procedure, a doctor will combine various X-ray and computer images to view your entire colon.
Teton Cancer Institute, an Affiliate of Mountain View Hospital, is a team of cancer specialists dedicated to offering the most advanced and innovative cancer care available in Southeast Idaho.