Who Should Be Screened for Colorectal Cancer?


What can you do to keep your colon in good health? You're certainly not alone if you've ever questioned where to start when it comes to learning about your colon health. Physical activity, good nutritional habits, and preventive health evaluations are key ways to monitor your health as you age. Colorectal cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed yet preventable cancers because of the tests available for catching the disease. Taking charge of your colon health can be as simple as requesting an appointment at Connecticut GI. Our gastrointestinal (GI) specialists can help guide you toward maintaining your future health.

Why are colon and rectal cancer exams important?

Per the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer affects the health of nearly 4% of people in the United States, representing approximately 1 out of every 25 individuals. The good news is that colon and rectal cancer is preventable when diagnosed in the initial stages.

In most cases, colon and rectal cancers start as a growth (clump of cellular material) on the inner wall of the rectum or colon. Such growths are known as colorectal polyps. It is rare to experience symptoms with polyps, making colorectal cancer screenings critical to finding them. By scheduling regular screenings, you’re helping preserve your general and GI health by removing those growths before they become cancerous. It is also crucial, however, to arrange for a colon cancer screening with one of our Connecticut gastroenterologists should you experience any of the following:

What makes colorectal cancer such a common disease?

Although there isn't a clear explanation of why colon cancer has become more common over the years, several factors could increase the chance of colorectal cancer. Staying informed and knowing the risk factors associated with this cancer can help you remain vigilant and make better decisions for your health and wellness. Risk factors for colon cancer include:

  • A diet that incorporates a considerable amount of processed meat
  • Being diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis)
  • Inadequate amounts of physical activity
  • A low-fat and high-fat diet
  • Family history of colon cancer
  • A diet insufficient in fruits and vegetables
  • Tobacco use
  • A prior history of colon or rectal cancer

We encourage you to request a consultation with a Connecticut GI gastrointestinal specialist. Our providers can explain more about colon and rectal cancer and how you might help guide yourself toward a future of health.

How frequently should I have a colorectal cancer test?

It is recommended to have an initial colorectal screening starting at age 45 if you’re at an average risk for colon cancer, and every ten years after that. The risk of having polyps and colon cancer grows with age, meaning that the more colon cancer tests you undergo, the earlier an issue can be diagnosed. Upon turning 75, you’ll require testing based on your general health condition and your GI specialist's recommendations.

It is essential to understand that a personal or familial history of colon polyps or colon cancer places you at a significantly higher risk. Should you fall into this significant high risk category, you’ll likely need to undergo a colonoscopy a minimum of once every five years. Understanding the status of your colon health and wellness is better than questioning if you should set up an appointment. A routine screening for colorectal cancer, or a colonoscopy, typically takes under 60 minutes to complete. This evaluation is a great way to determine the current status of your colon health and any changes you may need to make to keep your colon in good condition.

Schedule your colon cancer screening in Connecticut today

A routine colon cancer screening can safeguard your future health and wellness. The American Cancer Society reports that around 144,000 new colorectal cancer cases are diagnosed yearly. Fight that statistic today by scheduling a colon cancer test at a Connecticut GI location near you. Should you have questions or concerns about the test, we invite you to discuss them with your gastrointestinal specialist during your consultation.