Colorectal cancer, more commonly referred to as colon cancer, is the second leading cause of cancer related deaths in the United States. On average, the lifetime risk of developing colon cancer is about one in 20 (5%), but individual risk can vary widely according to your age and family history. Over 90% of new colon cancer diagnoses occur in individuals over the age of 50, and those with a first degree relative (parent, sibling or child) who has been diagnosed with colon cancer will have two to three times the risk of developing the disease.
While these statistics can be alarming, the good news is that with regular screenings colon cancer can be detected early, when treatment is most effective. Here at Golden Gate Obstetric and Gynecology, we recommend yearly screening for all of our patients over the age of 50 or for anyone with an immediate family history of this disease. During your annual exam, your Doctor will use a Fecal Immunochemical Test (also known as a fecal occult test) to test for blood in your stool. The result is available the same day of your appointment, and if a positive result is indicated, follow up care can be coordinated with a specialist.
In honor of Colon Cancer Awareness month, Golden Gate is raising awareness about this disease during the month of March.
- Patients under the age of 50 should take this time to review their family history of colon cancer with immediate relatives. Additionally, if you have a history of inflammatory bowel disease, a genetic syndrome such as familial adenomatous polyposis, or any unusual rectal bleeding, please contact our office to schedule a time to speak with your physician.
- For those patients over the age of 50, we invite you to learn more about your personal risk by using the Colorectal Cancer Risk Assessment Tool (http://www.cancer.gov/
colorectalcancerrisk/#). As always, continue to see your physician for an annual exam every 12 months.