Buddy Check 7: Importance of colon cancer screenings

Buddy Check 7
Published: Jan. 7, 2023 at 9:09 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Colon cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in men and women, according to the American Cancer Society. However, colon cancer can be prevented if it’s caught in time.

The American Cancer Society recommends anyone 45 years or older get a colonoscopy.

“This is particularly important because of the burden of mobility and mortality associated with colon cancer,” said Dr. Sabo Tanimu, a gastroenterologist for the Marshfield Clinic.

The screening can include both invasive and non-invasive procedures.

“The non-invasive modalities of screening include stool-based testing,” said Dr. Tanimu.

Dr. Tanimu said stool-based testing is usually performed yearly.

“For every positive result, it will require doing a colonoscopy to check for polyps,” said Dr. Tanimu.

However, non-invasive screenings have their limitations.

“You may have some false positive and false negative results,” said Dr. Tanimu.

That’s when the colonoscopy comes in.

“It typically involves the use of a flexible tube fitted with a light source and a camera. It is advanced through the rectum for the examination of the entire colon,” said Dr. Tanimu.

Doctors use the tool to search for polyps and cancer.

“The sequence of changes that leads to colon cancer starts from a polyp and if you can identify this polyp and remove it, you’re in other words, reducing or completely eliminating that likelihood of it changing to cancer,” said Dr. Tanimu.

Some lifestyle factors that can contribute to colon cancer are a lack of physical activity, diets low in fruits and vegetables, obesity, and alcohol consumption, according to the CDC.