Colorectal cancer occurs in the colon or rectum. That's the lower part of your digestive system. It is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths in Canada. It often starts with small growths called polyps in the colon or rectum. Polyps are usually found with screening tests. Depending on the type of test, any polyps found may be removed during the tests.
Colorectal cancer usually does not cause symptoms at first. But regular tests can help find it early, before it spreads and becomes harder to treat. Experts advise routine tests for colon cancer for people starting at age 50. And they advise people with a higher risk of colon cancer to get tested sooner. Talk with your doctor about when you should start testing. Discuss which tests you need.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
The following guidelines are for people age 50 and over who are not at high risk for colorectal cancer. You should have at least one of these tests as directed by your doctor and your provincial guidelines.
If you are age 75 and have had regular screenings or are age 80 or older you may not need screening.
Talk with your doctor about when you need to be tested. And discuss which tests are right for you.
Your doctor may recommend earlier or more frequent testing if you:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:
Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd
Enter M541 in the search box to learn more about "Colon Cancer Screening: Care Instructions".
Current as of: July 26, 2016
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
& Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
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