Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. for both men and women. Fortunately, screening for this disease can save thousands of lives each year. Colorectal cancer screening involves testing for blood in your stool or a tumor in your colon or rectum. A screening test can find pre-cancerous polyps and remove them before they become cancer.
A positive result from a screening test doesn’t always mean you have cancer; it may mean that you are at increased risk for developing colorectal cancer or another type of gastrointestinal tumor in the future if left untreated.
To know more about why you should get screened now and what to expect if you receive a positive result.
Here are 10 reasons to get screened for colorectal cancer:
You have a higher risk of getting CRC.
Everyone is at risk for developing colorectal cancer, but risk is high for some people than others. The most critical risk factor for colorectal cancer is an inherited syndrome called familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC or Lynch syndrome). Colonoscopy can find pre-cancerous polyps before they turn into cancer.
You might also be at a relatively high chance of getting colorectal cancer if any of these apply to you:
Screening is the best way to find CRC early.
CRC usually does not cause any noticeable symptoms until it reaches a more advanced stage. By the time symptoms are visible, it may already be too late. Screening is the best way to find colorectal cancer before it causes noticeable symptoms. CRC that is found and treated at an early stage has a much higher chance of curing than if it’s located at a later stage.
If left untreated, CRC has a high chance of spreading to other organs, such as the lymph nodes in the body, where it could become fatal.
A positive test result means you can get treated before the cancer develops.
A positive result from a fecal blood test or a barium enema means that Your chance of getting colorectal cancer is higher, especially if you have been diagnosed with adenomatous polyposis or HNPCC. A colonoscopy can find pre-cancerous polyps before they turn into cancer, which means that you can get treated for those polyps before they become cancerous.
Treatment for pre-cancerous polyps usually involves surgery to remove the affected area and sometimes nearby organs or lymph nodes for further investigation. A positive result from a fecal DNA test or a virtual colonoscopy means you are at an increased risk of developing colorectal cancer. If a colonoscopy is positive, a colon cancer specialist may recommend a follow-up colonoscopy in five years.
Colonoscopy can also remove pre-cancerous polyps before they turn into cancer.
If a colonoscopy reveals pre-cancerous polyps, your doctor can remove them with a snare or laser to prevent them from becoming full-blown cancer. If you have a positive test result from a colonoscopy, your doctor can remove the polyps and possibly some surrounding tissue to prevent them from growing back.
Colorectal cancer means you are automatically tested and monitored for other gastrointestinal tumors.
If colorectal cancer has been diagnosed in you, you will be tested for the presence of any other types of tumors in your gastrointestinal tract and nearby organs. This is because people with a history of CRC are at an increased risk of developing different gastrointestinal tumors, including gastric and small bowel tumors.
Colorectal Cancer is curable when caught early enough.
If you are diagnosed with colorectal cancer in its early stages, you can often get treated and have a good prognosis. Early stages of colorectal cancer include the following:
You may be eligible for treatment that helps prevent recurrence after surgery or removes more of your colon.
If you have been diagnosed with adenocarcinoma of the colon or rectum, you may be eligible for a particular treatment called adjuvant chemotherapy, which helps prevent cancer recurrence. If your doctor recommends chemotherapy after surgery, you may be offered more extensive surgery to remove more of your colon if needed.
You must be screened early and often if you are having a family history of colon cancer.
you should get screened for it regularly if you have a family history. People in this situation need to get screened for colorectal cancer early on so that it can be found and treated before it becomes advanced.
Early detection could save your life – and possibly the lives of your loved ones.
There are several different types of colorectal cancers, each with a different survival rate. If you are diagnosed with colon cancer at an early stage, you have a survival rate of about 90%. If you are diagnosed at an advanced stage, your survival rate drops to just 10%. If your loved ones are diagnosed with colorectal cancer in its early stages, they can be treated and cured. If they are diagnosed with advanced colorectal cancer, they will likely die.
Getting screened for colorectal cancer early can save the lives of your loved ones by enabling doctors to find and treat the disease before it becomes fatal.
Even if the tests typically come out negative, they can increase your awareness of your body and its functioning.
Moving forward, this will allow you to feel more in control over your health and well-being. You may also learn to respect your body and become more mindful of your daily habits to prevent these issues from developing in the first place.
This can be especially important for people with a family history of colorectal cancer who are at a higher risk of developing the disease.
In well-researched studies, colorectal cancer (CRC) screening programs have been shown to reduce CRC mortality, and numerous screening algorithms have been developed globally. However, participation rates are still relatively low, and by raising participation rates, the potential benefit might be increased.
Multiple screening tests may improve patient acceptance, but colonoscopy remains the only effective preventative treatment for CRC aside from lifestyle changes. This
is owing to the low sensitivity of non-invasive stool testing for precancerous lesions.