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Do You Need a Colon Cancer Screening?

Have you been wondering if you could benefit from a colon cancer screening? Colon cancer affects more than 97,000 people every year, Colon Cancer Screening Examaccording to the American Cancer Society, yet often produces no symptoms in the earliest, most treatable stages. Fortunately, regular screenings can help you decrease your risk. Gastroenterologist Dr. Saeed Ahmed of Digestive Disease Associates of Central Florida offers colon cancer screenings at his Wesley Chapel, FL, office.

What screening tests are available?

Gastroenterologists use several tests to screen for colon cancer, including:

  • Fecal Occult Blood Tests: The tests, conducted on stool samples, detect tiny amounts of blood in your feces.
  • Flexible Sigmoidoscopy: Your gastroenterologist uses a flexible lighted probe that contains a miniature camera to view the lining of your rectum and sigmoid colon. If your doctor spots any abnormal growths during the test, he'll remove them and send them to a medical laboratory for a biopsy.
  • Colonoscopy: A flexible probe with a camera is also used to conduct a colonoscopy. The test examines the lining of the large intestine, made up of your colon and rectum, and the lower part of your small intestine. In addition to viewing the lining of your intestines, your Wesley Chapel gastroenterologist can also cauterize bleeding blood vessels and remove cancerous growths and both pre-cancerous and benign polyps.

Who needs colon cancer screenings?

For years, 50 was the magic age for initial colon cancer screenings. This past spring, the American Cancer Society lowered the guideline to age 45 for people at average risk of the disease. The change was made after researchers noticed an increase in colon cancer diagnoses in younger people. If you're 45 or older and haven't had a colonoscopy yet, you'll want to visit your gastroenterologist and schedule an appointment.

Follow-up tests are recommended every 10 years if your initial screening reveals no problems. If you have a disease or condition that affects your gastrointestinal tract or had colon cancer or polyps in the past, your doctor may recommend more frequent colonoscopies. Fecal occult blood tests are recommended every year, while flexible sigmoidoscopies should be performed every five years.

Your gastroenterologist may also recommend a colonoscopy or flexible sigmoidoscopy if you have unexplained abdominal pain or rectal bleeding, changes in bowel movements, frequent constipation or diarrhea, or have noticed unexpected weight loss.

Protect your health with colon cancer screenings. Call your Wesley Chapel, FL, gastroenterologist Dr. Saeed Ahmed of Digestive Disease Associates of Central Florida at (813) 994-4800 to schedule an appointment.

Wesley Chapel, FL Gastroenterologist Digestive Disease Associates of Central Florida 2050 Ashley Oaks Circle Wesley Chapel, FL 33544 (813) 994-4800
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