The Importance of Colon Cancer Screening

The best way to prevent colon cancer is to get regular screenings. A screening test can spot polyps and remove them before they become cancerous. Regular exercise, a low-fat diet, avoiding processed meats, and not smoking can reduce your risk.

But not all screening tests “save lives.” Some cause harm (physical or psychological) by causing anxiety while waiting for results.

Importance of Colon Cancer Screening

Risk Factors

Spotting cancer in the early stages, when it is smaller and has not spread, increases the chances of a cure. It is also much less costly than treating people whose cancer is diagnosed after it has grown and spread.

Screening tests can find polyps and other abnormalities of the colon or rectum before they develop into cancer and cause symptoms. The two main screening methods are a colonoscopy and a sigmoidoscopy, which involve having a doctor inspect the entire colon.

Specific individuals are more susceptible to developing colorectal cancer than others. Those who have a family history of the disease, especially a first-degree relative younger than 60 who had colon cancer or polyps, are at increased risk. It is essential to consider certain risk factors that can raise the likelihood of developing colorectal cancer. A history of chronic inflammatory bowel illness or a family history of hereditary colorectal cancer syndromes, such as Lynch syndrome or familial adenomatous polyposis, may be among these risk factors. Additionally, smoking is also a significant risk factor to take into account.


In some countries, people with cancer are diagnosed at a late stage, when their symptoms have progressed beyond what can be easily detected. Treatment for these advanced stages of cancer is generally more complex and expensive than that provided for early diagnosis. Strategies for improving cancer early detection are readily available and can be integrated into health systems at a reasonable cost. These include raising public awareness of common cancer symptoms, prompting them to seek medical attention, and investing in strengthening and equipping health services so that health workers can conduct accurate and timely diagnostics without incurring prohibitive personal or financial hardship. Investing in cancer screening can lead to effective, affordable treatment and improved patient outcomes. Learn more about this vital work.


Cancer cells can grow in the colon for months or years before causing symptoms. Screening tests can detect and remove cancer cells or precancerous polyps before they become cancerous.

Doctors can also use screening to detect cancer that has already spread to other parts of the body. These advanced cancers can be cured with surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation.

Another screening method is a blood test that checks for gene changes (somatic mutations) in colon cancer cells. 

According to current guidelines, people with an average risk of colon cancer should start screening for the disease at age 45, while people with a higher risk should start sooner. Gastro Of The Rockies specialists can help patients determine when to start screening based on their risk factors. In addition to recommending a screening schedule, doctors can offer advice on reducing the chances of getting colon cancer, such as eating more fruits and vegetables, exercising regularly, and avoiding smoking and excess alcohol.


Many people with colon cancer are cured by surgery when it is caught at an early stage. Screening tests find precancerous polyps and help doctors remove them before they turn into cancer. They also find cancer at an early stage when it is easier to treat.

Screening test results can sometimes be confusing. A false-negative test result means a person doesn’t have colorectal cancer and does not need further testing. A false-positive test result means there is cancer, and the doctor needs to do more tests to confirm a diagnosis.

Current guidelines recommend that adults over the age of 45 with an average risk should begin screening for colon cancer. Specialists can assess an individual’s risk factors and recommend when to start screening. Screening for colon cancer may be covered by your insurance. 

Roger Walker

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