Colorectal cancer – cancer of the colon and rectum – affects men and women equally and is the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. Sadly, more than half of all colorectal cancer deaths might have been prevented by early detection through colon cancer screening. Getting screened is your best medical defense against colorectal cancer because it’s one of the few cancers detectable in a precancerous state.
From the doc
“For years, the recommended age to begin screening the average-risk population was age 50. However, 45 is the new recommendation.”
Dr. McGee is a Gastroenterology specialist at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic.
New screening guidelines recommend men and women at average risk for colorectal cancer be screened starting at age 45. If you have a close relative with colorectal cancer or you have an inflammatory bowel disease, you may need to start screening at a younger age and be screened more often.
At Kelsey-Seybold, we offer a variety of colorectal cancer screening techniques depending on the individual patient’s situation. Colonoscopy is considered the “gold standard” as the screening technique most preferred by the American College of Gastroenterology.
Colorectal cancer is 90% beatable in the early stages.
The key to beating this disease is through early medical detection. Here’s why: Most colon cancers begin as a benign polyp. If the polyp is detected and removed soon enough, most colon cancers can be prevented from forming – hence the importance of recommended preventive screenings.
Don’t wait for noticeable symptoms before getting screened.
The most perplexing barrier to early detection of colorectal cancer is the lack of clear symptoms. The primary symptom – rectal bleeding or blood in the stool – might be attributed to hemorrhoids, ulcerative colitis, or inflammatory bowel disease. However, once there’s blood in the stool, cancerous polyps may have been developing and advancing for 10 years or more.
5 ways to help reduce your risk:
- Maintain a healthy weight. Excess body fat is linked to a higher risk of colorectal cancer.
- Exercise regularly. Staying active by getting between 75 and 150 minutes of exercise per week can help reduce your risk.
- Add more fiber to your diet. Fresh fruits, vegetables, and oatmeal are good sources. Limit red meat. Avoid hot dogs and bacon.
- Cut back on alcohol. Don’t smoke or use nicotine in any form.
- Have regular, doctor-recommended colorectal screenings with an individualized schedule that meets your specific family history and overall health.
Dr. McGee cares for patients at Kelsey-Seybold’s Fort Bend Medical and Diagnostic Center in Sugar Land.