Colon Cancer Q & A
More than 100,000 Americans develop colorectal cancer every year, and it’s the second-most common cause of cancer deaths among men and women combined. These frightening facts mean that having rectal and colon cancer knowledge and screening is extremely important. At the practice of leading gastroenterology specialist Jan J. Shim, MD, in her main office on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, New York, and another in Fort Lee, New Jersey, you can get the diagnosis, treatment, and preventive care you need to be healthy. Call the office nearest you or click online scheduling now.
What causes colon cancer?
The exact cause of colorectal cancer isn't certain. But extensive research shows certain commonalities in most colorectal cancer cases. Risk factors include:
Risk increases with age, with most sufferers being diagnosed after age 50, but the age is trending down/younger.
Polyps are abnormal tissues that stand out from the internal colon or rectum walls. They're fairly common in men and women over 50. Removing them may help you avoid colon cancer.
If you've experienced colorectal cancer in the past, you're at risk for a second bout of the disease. Women who have or previously had ovarian, breast, or uterine cancer have an increased risk for colorectal cancer, as well.
If any of your first-degree relatives — your parents, full-blood siblings, or children — have colorectal cancer, your risk is higher than normal. This is particularly true if your relative was diagnosed before the age of 45. Almost one in three colorectal cancer sufferers has one or more first-degree relatives with the disease.
Ulcerative or Crohn's colitis
If you have either ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease, you're more likely to have colorectal cancer.
Your diet may play a role in colorectal cancer development. In particular, eating a lot of red and processed meats is a risk, and eating too little whole grains, fresh fruits, or veggies may contribute.
Cigarette smoking, especially long-term, increases your colorectal cancer risk.
Too little exercise can raise your colorectal cancer risk, especially since it contributes to poor health, including excess weight or obesity.
Even if you don't have clear colorectal cancer risk factors at this time, regular assessment is important in detecting the disease and treating it early.
When do I need colorectal cancer screening?
Dr. Shim reviews your health, risk factors, and personal needs to determine the ideal colorectal cancer screening schedule and method. Many patients start screening at around age 45-50, but you could need to start earlier.
What kind of colorectal cancer screening tests are available?
Dr. Shim typically performs colorectal cancer screening tests using endoscopy, in which she uses a flexible tube with a light and camera to view your colon, rectum, or both.
There are many different types of endoscopy, including colonoscopy, in which Dr. Shim checks your colon and large intestine for polyps and other signs of colon cancer. She may also perform other types of endoscopy, blood tests, and other diagnostic testing to identify polyps and colorectal cancer as early as possible.
Colon cancer screening is so vital because early detection can save your life. It’s painless and easy with Jan J. Shim, MD, so call the office or book online now.
The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.