Why Get a Colorectal Cancer Screening?


What can you do to keep your colon health in check? You are definitely not alone if you have ever questioned where to begin when it comes to learning about your colon health. Adequate amounts of physical activity, good nutrition, and routine health screenings are some of the approaches you can take to optimize your health as you get older. Colorectal cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed yet avoidable cancers thanks to the tests that are available for identifying this health concern. Being proactive with your colon health can be as easy as scheduling a consultation at GI Alliance of Illinois. Located throughout Chicago, Elgin, Peoria, Arlington Heights, Gurnee, Hinsdale, and the surrounding areas, our gastroenterology specialists can help guide you toward maintaining your future health.

Why are colon and rectal cancer exams so important?

As indicated by the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer affects the health of around 4% of men and women in the United States, which equates to around 1 out of every 25 people. Fortunately, colorectal cancer can be avoided if caught in the early stages.

In most instances, colon and rectal cancers start as a growth (cluster of cells) on the internal wall of the colon or rectum. These growths are known as colorectal polyps. It is uncommon to experience symptoms when polyps are present, making routine screenings vital for catching them. When you schedule periodic screenings, you are helping to safeguard your GI and overall health by getting any growths removed before they become cancerous. It is also essential, however, to schedule a colon cancer screening if you experience any of the following symptoms:

Why is colon cancer so common?

There is no clear answer to why colon cancer has become such a common disease over the years. However, several factors could affect the development of colon cancer. Keeping informed and being aware of the risk factors associated with this disease can enable you to stay mindful and make better decisions for your future health. Some of the risk factors for colon cancer involve the following:

  • A prior history of colorectal cancer
  • A diet insufficient in fruits and vegetables
  • Inadequate amount of physical activity
  • Being a tobacco user
  • A low-fat and high-fat diet
  • A diet that includes a large amount of processed meat
  • A family history of colon cancer
  • Being diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease)

Please request a consultation with a GI Alliance of Illinois gastrointestinal specialist. Our providers can offer further information about colon and rectal cancer and how you can remain on the path toward future health and wellness.

How often should I have a colon cancer test?

It is recommended that you obtain your first colon screening when you reach age 45 when you have a standard risk for developing colon cancer and then every decade as you age. The chance of developing polyps and colorectal cancer increases as you age, which means that the more colon cancer tests you have, the earlier an issue can be identified. When you turn 75, you will need to undergo testing dependent upon your general health condition and your gastroenterologist's recommendations.

It is important to understand that having a personal history or family history of colon or rectal cancer or polyps puts you in the significantly higher risk category. If you are in this significant high risk group, you will likely require a colonoscopy a minimum of once every five years. It is much better to know the status of your colorectal health rather than to question if you should schedule a GI appointment. A routine screening for colon cancer, or a colonoscopy, typically takes less than an hour to complete. This evaluation is an optimal way to learn the current status of your colon health and any changes you can make to help keep your colon in good health in the future.

Schedule a colon cancer screening in Illinois today

A colon cancer screening can protect your future. The American Cancer Society indicates that approximately 144,000 new colorectal cancer cases get diagnosed each year. Help minimize that statistic today by requesting a colon cancer test at a GI Alliance of Illinois location in Chicago, Elgin, Peoria, Arlington Heights, Gurnee, Hinsdale, or the surrounding areas. Should you have concerns or questions about the screening, we invite you to review them with your gastrointestinal specialist during your appointment.