Colon Cancer Screening in Hagerstown, MD
Colon cancer is the third most common cancer in the US. This is something to take seriously and yet many adults don’t get the proper screenings they need to detect colon cancer early on. The screening that our gastroenterologists at Gastroenterology Associates offer in Hagerstown, MD saves lives and it’s the best way to protect you and those you love from colon cancer.
Why are screenings necessary?
Colon cancer begins as polyps that develop within the lining of the colon. If left undetected, these polyps will continue to grow. Once they are large enough, they become cancerous and can continue to spread throughout the colon.
Colon cancer develops slowly, sometimes taking up to a decade to develop. This means that the screening tool that we use here at our practice is the best way to catch and remove the polyps before they even have the ability to turn cancerous.
How do you screen for colon cancer?
While there are a few options when it comes to screening for colon cancer, the “gold standard” is a colonoscopy, a quick inpatient procedure in which we guide a scope into the rectum and through the colon to examine the lining and to look for and remove any polyps or cancerous growths. A patient is under sedation while the procedure is performed, and it typically only takes about 20-30 minutes to complete; however, the procedure may take up to an hour if we have to remove polyps.
Who should get screened for colon cancer?
Both men and women with a moderate risk for colon cancer should begin to get colonoscopies every 10 years once they reach 50 years old; however, if you have a family history of colon polyps or colon cancer, talk with our gastroenterologist about getting screened at 45 years old. Your lifestyle, health, and family medical history will determine your risk for colon cancer and from there we can decide how often and when to start getting routine colon cancer screenings.