Colonoscopy and Colon Cancer Screening

Colon Polyps & Cancer Prevention

Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in United States. Only lung cancer is more deadly. This year we can expect over 130,000 new cases of colon cancer and  approximately 55,000 deaths from colon cancer. Studies suggest that as many as 1 in 19 American adults are at risk for colon cancer.  There is good news, though. A colonoscopy is an effective and safe screening test which can detect colon cancer in the infancy stages, and prevent actual cancer from setting in. In 2001, the FDA approved colonoscopy as an effective screening test which has proven to lower the incidence of colon cancer

What is a Colon Polyp?

It is well recognized that colon cancer usually begins many years earlier as a small noncancerous growth called a polyp, which grows on the inner wall of the colon. Polyps, which are abnormal tissue growth that arise on the inner surface of the colon, arise from genetic mutations in the DNA of the cells that line the colon. All of the risk factors for developing these genetic mutations are not known, but genetics plays an important role. Over time some polyps will grow larger until they develop into colon cancer. Although there are always exceptions, current data suggests that this malignant transformation is slow and may take as little as seven years..

Cancer Risk Associated With Colon Polyps

Colon polyps are important since some may turn into colon cancer over time. While not every colon polyp turns to cancer, it is believed that almost every colon cancer begins as a small, non-cancerous polyp. Fortunately, during colonoscopy these polyps can be identified and removed – thus preventing a possible colon cancer.

If you are uncertain if you are due for a colonoscopy, please schedule an appointment at our Boca Raton or Delray Beach office, and we will be happy to review your medical history, and help determine whether a colonoscopy is indicated.

 
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