Dr. Santa Nandi is a gastroenterologist practicing in Hicksville, New York. Dr. Nandi specializes in the digestive system and its diseases that affect the gastrointestinal tract, which include organs from the mouth to the anus as well as liver disorders. Gastroenterology includes conditions such as hepatitis, peptic ulcer... more
Colorectal cancer is the fourth most commonly diagnosed cancer, and is the second leading cause of cancer related death. Recently there have been some significant advances in the treatment of advanced cancers of the colon and rectum however, the only way to achieve a complete cure is an early diagnosis and treatment before the disease has a chance to invade and spread. The easiest and smartest way to detect this disease early is by screening for colon cancer. Screening for cancer means detecting the disease at a time when someone may not be experiencing any obvious symptoms of the disease. Being that this form of cancer typically develops from precancerous growths called polyps, screening tests are intended to detect those precancerous lesions and then by simply removing them from the body, we can prevent them from turning into cancer.
It has been recommended that one should begin colorectal cancer screenings at the age of 50 years however, that is now starting to change. According to the American Cancer Society, the new recommended age for screening for colorectal cancer should be 45 years.
Certain population groups are known to be genetically at an increased risk and must be screened before they turn 50.
Current screening methods have helped to stabilize and reduce colorectal cancers in people over age 50 however, the incidence of these cancers in people below age 50 has been noted to be on the rise. This younger age group must be made aware of any and all risk factors that they may have, in order to get screened for colon cancer ahead of time.
A major risk that every individual must be aware of is a family history of gastrointestinal and other related malignancies, which indicates that they would need earlier screening.
A family history of precancerous colon polyps without cancer also places one at a higher risk.
Symptoms that younger people in general tend to ignore may be red flags, and they must be made aware of this possibility.
There are currently more than one test or tool that can be used to screen for colorectal cancer. Colonoscopy is considered the gold standard among them however, the other methods are also applicable in some cases, depending on an individual's risk factors and health status.
It’s absolutely imperative that every single adult consult a primary care physician and preferably a Gastroenterologist to review the risk status in order to be screened as soon as possible for colorectal cancer.