Routine Colon Cancer Screenings Are Essential, Especially for African American Individuals
If you’ve been avoiding a colonoscopy, don’t put it off any longer. Colonoscopy is much faster, safer, and more affordable than you might think. It’s essential to prioritize your health and schedule this life-saving procedure. One of the best decisions you can make for yourself and your family is to schedule a colon cancer screening today.
How Common is Colon Cancer?
Colon cancer is a growth that begins in the colon, also known as the large intestine. Most colon cancers start as a polyp, a tiny growth that forms on the colon’s inner lining.
This year alone, there will be an estimated 104,270 new cases of colon cancer and 45,230 new cases of rectal cancer in the United States. Colon cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in the country, and it disproportionately affects African Americans. The good news is that regular screenings can detect cancer in the early stages – and can even prevent the disease.
African Americans and Colon Cancer Risk
African Americans have a higher incidence of colon cancer than other racial and ethnic groups in the United States. According to the American Cancer Society, African American individuals are 20 percent more likely to develop colon cancer and 40 percent more likely to die from the disease. Studies also show African Americans are at higher risk of developing polyps on the right side of the colon, which are often more challenging to detect.
There’s Always Enough Time for Colon Health
Studies show lack of time is one of the main reasons African Americans cite for not scheduling a colonoscopy. Many people assume they are healthy if they do not have any symptoms of illness, but colon cancer rarely displays symptoms in the early stages. By the time patients experience warning signs like altered bowel habits, rectal bleeding or abdominal pain, cancer could be in an advanced stage.
Putting off a screening may increase your risk for colon cancer. Young-onset colon cancer is on the rise, especially in the Black community. People under 50 are also more likely to develop aggressive tumors.
Colonoscopies Can Be Pain-Free
Fear of discomfort is another reason African Americans who were surveyed reported for avoiding colonoscopy. However, patients are sedated during the procedure to avoid discomfort. Among all colon cancer screening methods, colonoscopy is the most effective test for detecting and preventing cancer because it allows the doctor to remove polyps before they become cancerous.
Colonoscopies Can Be Affordable
Another concern many patients have reported is the cost of colon cancer screening. Due to the Affordable Care Act, most screening colonoscopies are free and don’t include a deductible or out-of-pocket payment. Talk with your doctor’s office about colonoscopy coverage since there may be requirements including age and prior history of polyps.
Call a Gastroenterologist
No one looks forward to colon cancer screenings, but they are an essential part of preventive care. If you’ve been avoiding getting screened, don’t put it off any longer. A colon cancer screening is one of the most important gifts you can give your family – and yourself.
Call a GI center and make an appointment for a colon cancer screening. A preventive test today can prevent expensive medical bills in the future.