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When Should I Start Having My Colon Checked?

Like many forms of cancer, colon and colorectal cancers have the best chance of successful treatment when diagnosed early. Also known as the large intestine, the colon can develop growths in the lining known as polyps, some of which can eventually lead to cancer. Colon CancerA colonoscopy is an endoscopic procedure that allows a gastroenterologist to check the colon for polyps.

Colon Cancer Screenings Wesley Chapel

Dr. Saeed Ahmed, a gastroenterologist at Digestive Disease Associates of Central Florida in Wesley Chapel advises generally healthy patients with no family history of polyps or colon cancer to begin routine colonoscopy screenings around the age of 50. However, some people may have to begin screening earlier, depending on individual risk factors.

Colon Cancer Risk Factors

Certain lifestyle habits and genetic conditions can potentially increase the risk of colon cancer:

  • Heredity - having a parent, sibling or child with the disease
  • Genetic conditions - familial adenomatous polyposis, Lynch syndrome (hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer)
  • Conditions that cause chronic intestinal inflammation - ulcerative colitis, Chron's Disease
  • Age - Most cases are diagnosed after the age of 50
  • Race - African Americans have a higher risk
  • Personal history - previous colorectal cancer or adenomatous polyps increase risk of developing colon cancer again
  • Diet - high fat with low fiber intake
  • Inactive/sedentary lifestyle
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Excessive alcohol
  • Radiation treatments for cancer

Signs and Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer

Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Unexplained changes in bowel movements that persist beyond a few weeks
  • Bleeding from the rectum or blood in stool
  • Ongoing abdominal issues such as persistent pain, cramping and gas
  • Sensation that bowel does not completely empty after a movement
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fatigue

Contact a Gastroenterologist in Wesley Chapel

Prevention and early detection are the best weapons against colorectal cancer. To learn more about your individual risk levels, and to schedule an appointment for a colonoscopy, contact Digestive Disease Associates of Central Florida by calling (813) 994-4800 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Saeed Ahmed today.

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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