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March Is Colon Cancer Awareness Month

At Ross Medical Group, our doctors realize how important it is to screen for colon cancer. Screening for colon cancer provides early detection and helps save lives. Among cancers that affect both men and women, colorectal cancer is actually the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Risk for colon cancer also increases with age.  More than 90% of colorectal cancers occur in people aged 50 and older.

Precancerous polyps and colorectal cancer don’t always cause symptoms. That is why having a screening test is so important. Symptoms for which you should see your doctor for include: Blood in or on the stool, Stomach pain, aches, or cramps that do not go away, and unintentional weight loss. Being physically active, maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding smoking and minimizing your alcohol intake can decrease your risk for developing colon cancer.

There are certain measures you can take to make sure you are up to date with your screening. If you’re 50 to 75 years old, make an appointment at Ross Medical Group and get screened for colorectal cancer regularly. If you’re younger than 50 and think you may be at high risk of getting colorectal cancer, or if you’re older than 75, ask your doctor if you should be screened.

If your doctor recommends screening for colon cancer, there are several screening test options:

Stool Tests – these include the gFOBT, the FIT and the FIT-DNA tests. The guaiac-based fecal occult blood test (gFOBT) uses the chemical guaiac to detect blood in the stool. It is done once a year. The fecal immunochemical test (FIT) uses antibodies to detect blood in the stool. It is also done once a year in the same way as a gFOBT. The FIT-DNA test (also referred to as the stool DNA test) combines the FIT with a test that detects altered DNA in the stool. It is done once every one or three years.

Colonoscopy – This is the most common form of screening for colon cancer. The doctor uses a longer, thin, flexible, lighted tube to check for polyps or cancer inside the rectum and the entire colon. During the test, the doctor can find and remove most polyps and some cancers. This test is usually performed every 10 years.

Flexible Sigmoidoscopy – For this test, the doctor uses a shorter, thin, flexible, lighted tube. The doctor checks for polyps or cancer inside the rectum and lower third of the colon. This test can be performed every 5 years, or every 10 years with a FIT every year, depending on the results.

CT Colonography (Virtual Colonoscopy) – This test uses X-rays and computers to produce images of the entire colon, which are displayed on a computer screen for the doctor to analyze. It is usually performed every 5 years.

Call Ross Medical Group at 305-279-7677 and make your appointment to talk about colon cancer screening today! Same day appointments are available. We look forward to taking care of you!

For more information, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/dcpc/resources/features/colorectalawareness/index.htm

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