Find out the warning signs associated with colon cancer and the best way to screen for this serious condition.
Colon cancer is something that you may not think about but after the age of 50, but our Weslaco and Edinburg, TX, gastroenterologist, Dr. S. Murthy Badiga, recommends getting routine colonoscopies to screen for polyps or other growths that could be cancerous. Here are some of the symptoms associated with colon cancer and the diagnostic testing used to determine the cause of your symptoms:
Symptoms of colon cancer include:
- An increase in diarrhea, constipation or changes in your stool that last for at least a month or more
- Blood in the stool or rectal bleeding
- Abdominal pain or discomfort
- Feeling as if your bowels aren’t completely empty
- Unexpected or unexplained weight loss
- Feeling tired or weak
It’s important to know that many people in the early stages of colon cancer don’t even experience symptoms. When symptoms do manifest they can differ based on where the cancer is located in their intestines; however, if you do notice blood in the stool or any changes in your bowels, then you need to make an appointment with our Weslaco and Edinburg GI doctor as soon as possible for a colon cancer screening.
Who should get a colon cancer screening?
While those who are experiencing symptoms should always come to us for an evaluation, routine screenings should also begin at around 50 years old regardless of whether you are experiencing symptoms or not. If you have a family history of colon cancer or if you have other risk factors that increase your chances of developing colon cancer, then you may need regular screenings more often. Risk factors for colon cancer include:
- A family history of colon cancer
- Having had polyps or colorectal cancer in the past
- Being over the age of 50
- Being African American
- Having certain genetic syndromes
- Maintaining a diet that is high in fat but low in fiber
- Smoking or using tobacco products
- Having been diagnosed with diabetes
- Leading an inactive lifestyle
- Being obese or overweight
- Being a heavy drinker
If you are experiencing any symptoms, do not hesitate to call our Weslaco or Edinburg, TX, offices to schedule an appointment. Colon cancer is serious but can be treated effectively when caught during its earliest stages.