March was designated Colon Cancer Awareness Month in the year 2000 by President Bill Clinton. In the United States, Colon Cancer is the third most common cancer taking the lives of over 50,000 people each year. It affects both men and women of all ethnic groups and is most often found in people over the age of 50. Unfortunately, it can affect young people too.
Colon cancer occurs when healthy cells in the colon or rectum develop errors in their DNA. These mutated cells – or cancer cells divide and grow to form a tumor. If left unchecked, the tumor (cancer) will continue to grow and destroy normal tissue – and can also travel to other parts of the body.
Colon Cancer Symptoms
There is no one specific cause for colon cancer, but there are certain risk factors including family history. Symptoms of the disease include:
- A change in bowel behavior - including diarrhea or constipation that lasts for several weeks.
- Bleeding from the rectum or blood in your stool
- Persistent discomfort, such as stomach cramps, gas or pain
- A feeling that your bowel doesn't empty completely
- Unexplained weight loss
The good news is that when discovered early, colon cancer is highly treatable. There are currently more than one million colon cancer survivors in the U.S.
A Colonoscopy can save your life. There are numerous types of colon cancer screening, but colonoscopy is the gold standard for detecting cancer of the colon and rectum. Screening should begin at age 50 -- or earlier if you have a family history. If you are 50 or older and have not yet had a colonoscopy, please remember that early detection can save lives.
Chaska Colonoscopy Clinic
At Bhatti GI, we make getting a colonoscopy easy. Patients can be seen within a week and we offer pre-op physicals on the same day as your colonoscopy. Screening colonoscopy with no findings is covered by most insurance plans at no cost to the patient. If you have any questions or concerns, or would like to schedule a colonoscopy, please call us at 952-368-3800.