Colon cancer is the third most common cancer in men and women in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That’s why Anne Thai, MD, recommends regular colon cancer screenings at her office in Burlingame, California. When caught early, colon cancer is often curable. Call the office or book an appointment online today to learn more about colon cancer.
Also called colorectal cancer, colon cancer develops in the colon or rectum and typically begins as small growths called polyps. Polyps are often benign (noncancerous), but over time they can become malignant (cancerous), which is why it’s important to continue monitoring them.
Colon cancer may affect people of all ages. However, it’s more common in adults over the age of 50.
Colon cancer symptoms depend on the size, location, and progression of your polyps. In its early stages, you may experience no symptoms at all.
Talk to Dr. Thai if you experience any noticeable changes in your bowel habits or stools, including:
Along with the above symptoms, many people with colon cancer often feel like they can’t empty their bowels all the way. Other general signs of colon cancer include fatigue, weakness, and sudden weight loss.
The best way to prevent colon cancer and stop it from spreading is by visiting Dr. Thai for a colon cancer screening. Screenings detect early signs of colon cancer, precancerous lesions, such as polyps in your colon.
There are several types of colon cancer screenings, depending on your unique case:
For a stool test, Dr. Thai asks for a stool sample, which she then sends to a lab for analysis. This test can help detect early signs of viruses, bacteria, poor nutrient absorption, and cancer.
During a flexible sigmoidoscopy, Dr. Thai inserts a thin, flexible tube into the rectum to check for signs of colon cancer. This tube has a small camera attached to the end to see inside the lower part of the colon. If necessary, she may take a biopsy for evaluation.
A colonoscopy is very similar to a flexible sigmoidoscopy. The main difference is that a colonoscopy examines your entire colon, not just the lower region. If Dr. Thai finds polyps, she removes them and sends them to a lab to be biopsied.
If you’re at average risk of colon cancer, you should start coming in for screenings at age 45-50 and then once every ten years thereafter. However, you may need a screening sooner if you’re at a higher risk of the disease.
Some common risk factors for colon cancer include having Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, obesity, or a family history of the disease.
With early detection, colon cancer is preventable and treatable. To schedule an appointment with Anne Thai, MD, call the office or book a visit online today.