Have you been wondering if you could benefit from a colon cancer screening? Colon cancer affects more than 97,000 people every year, according 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:
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.