Early Colon Cancer Screening: FAQs About High-Risk Conditions And More

Are some medical factors more important than others when it comes to colon cancer testing? You're not sure if your health history puts you at increased risk for colorectal cancer—and you need to learn more about early testing. Take a look at the medical risk factors that may put you at an increased risk for this type of cancer and what you need to know about early screening. 

What Age Should Colon Cancer Screening Start?

According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), people with average risk should have their first colonoscopy at age 45. But this doesn't mean everyone should wait until their mid-40s to start this screening. Some people with specific medical conditions or chronic illnesses may need an earlier colonoscopy. The ACS recommendations note that early screening, before age 45, is important for people at an increased or high risk for colorectal cancer. 

What Does Increased or High Risk Mean?

There isn't one high-risk factor that applies to everyone. The ACS lists several different factors, including a strong family history of colorectal cancer, a strong family history of some types of colon polyps, a personal medical history of colorectal cancer/some types of polyps, a family history of hereditary colorectal cancer syndromes, abdominal or pelvic radiation to treat other types of cancer, or a personal medical history of some bowel-related conditions or diseases.

What Medical Conditions Could Increase Risk?

Inflammatory bowel disease could increase the risk for colorectal cancer. This is a general category of conditions, including ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. As the name implies, these diseases cause chronic inflammation of the bowel (gastrointestinal tract). 

Ulcerative colitis can affect the large intestine and rectum. Along with inflammation, this type of bowel disease can also cause ulcers (sores) in the innermost layer of the colon's lining. Crohn's disease also causes inflammation—but won't result in sores. This chronic condition can affect different layers of the gastrointestinal tract's walls.

Are There Syndromes That Increase Risk?

Some people who are at increased or high risk for colorectal cancer, and need an early screening, may not have a chronic GI condition. People with an inherited (genetic) syndrome such as Lynch syndrome or familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) will need a colon cancer screening before age 45. 

Lynch syndrome can cause early cancers that develop at a younger age than typically expected. This increases the person's chances for colorectal cancer, making a pre-45th birthday screening a crucial preventative measure. FAP may also cause early colorectal cancer. People with this genetic syndrome develop hundreds of polyps or more in their intestinal tract. These could progress into cancer if not found early and treated.

For more information, contact a local clinic like Gastro Health.

About Me

Preparing for a Stem Cell Transplant

About six months ago, my wonderful father discovered he had an aggressive form of lymphoma. At this time, his doctor informed him he would need to undergo six rounds of chemotherapy. My dad’s physician also told him he would need to have a stem cell transplant immediately after he completed the chemotherapy. To prepare for the stem cell transplant, my father was put on a special diet. His doctor recommended he eat a lot of protein. My dad was also told to drink plenty of water and exercise regularly. On this blog, I hope you will learn smart tips to help you or one of your loved ones prepare for a stem cell transplant. Enjoy!


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