Arkansas Gastroenterology Associates & Endoscopy Center
Gastroenterology and Endoscopy located in Hot Springs, AR
Every year, over 147,000 Americans receive a colon cancer diagnosis, usually following a routine colon cancer screening. John Brandt, MD, and J. Steven Mathews, MD, at Arkansas Gastroenterology Endoscopy Center in Hot Springs, Arkansas, offer cutting-edge colon cancer screening services to diagnose colon cancer. Early diagnosis is critical to ensure you can get the treatment you need. Call Arkansas Gastroenterology Endoscopy Center or schedule your screening online today.
Colon Cancer Screening Q&A
What are the signs of colon cancer?
Your colon or large intestine is the final part of the digestive tract. Colon cancer usually begins to develop as polyps — clumps of small, noncancerous cells — on the inside of your colon.
Early-stage colon cancer and polyps might not cause any noticeable symptoms, which is why routine colon cancer screening is an essential preventive health measure. However, you might have symptoms, including:
- Changes in your bowel habits or consistency
- Rectal bleeding
- Blood in your stool
- Persistent abdominal pain
- Fatigue and weakness
- Feeling like your bowel doesn’t empty
- Unexplained weight loss
Many conditions can cause these symptoms. You should make an appointment at Arkansas Gastroenterology Endoscopy Center for a diagnosis so you can get appropriate treatment.
What are the risk factors for colon cancer?
Your risk of developing colon cancer increases with age. A history of colon polyps, inflammatory intestinal conditions, and diabetes can also influence your chances of developing colon cancer.
Your lifestyle also affects your risk of colon cancer. A sedentary lifestyle, low-fiber diet, smoking, and excessive alcohol use increase your chances of colon cancer. Your chances also increase if you’re overweight or obese.
When should I have a colon cancer screening?
In general, you should begin to have routine colon cancer screenings around the age of 50. However, if you have an increased risk of colon cancer, your physician might recommend screenings at an earlier age.
What happens during a colon cancer screening?
There are three main types of colon cancer screening: stool tests, sigmoidoscopy, and colonoscopy.
You provide a stool sample at home and give it to your physician. Your doctor sends it to a lab where technicians test for blood with fecal occult blood tests, immunochemical tests, and stool DNA tests.
During a sigmoidoscopy, your doctor inserts a thin, flexible scope into your rectum and colon. A sigmoidoscopy only provides images from the last third of your colon.
A colonoscopy involves a thin, flexible scope that your doctor inserts into your rectum and colon. The scope is long enough to reach the beginning of your colon and provides a comprehensive view of your large intestine.
You have a sedative during a colonoscopy and sigmoidoscopy. Your doctor provides instructions, but you need to fast for 8-12 hours before your procedure and complete a bowel cleansing to prepare.
If you’re due for a colon cancer screening or have concerns about your health, call Arkansas Gastroenterology Endoscopy Center or make an appointment online today.
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