Are you at Risk for Colon Cancer?

What is Colorectal Cancer?

  • Almost all cases of colorectal cancer also referred to as colon cancer, begin with the development of benign colonic polyps.
  • Polyps form when cells lining the colon grow, divide and reproduce in an unhealthy, disorderly way, producing a growth.
  • These polyps can be cancerous, invading the colon wall and surrounding blood vessels, and spreading to other parts of the body.
  • Colorectal cancer frequently begins without symptoms.

What Causes Colorectal Cancer?

  • The exact causes of colorectal cancer are unknown, but the disease appears to be caused by both inherited and lifestyle factors.
  • Diets high in fat and low in fruits and vegetables – such as those that include red meat, fried foods, and high-fat dairy products – may increase the risk of colorectal cancer.
  • Lifestyle factors –such as cigarette smoking, a sedentary lifestyle, and obesity – also may increase the risk of developing the disease.
  • Genetic factors may determine a person’s susceptibility to the disease, whereas dietary and other lifestyle factors may determine which at-risk individuals actually go on to develop the disease.

How Common is Colorectal Cancer?

  • Colorectal cancer is the second leading cancer killer in the United States, and the third most common cancer overall.
  • This year, more than 50,000 Americans will die from colorectal cancer and approximately 131,600 new cases will be diagnosed.
  • Eighty to 90 million Americans (approximately 25 percent of the US population) are considered at risk because of age or other factors.
  • More women over the age of 75 die from colorectal cancer than from breast cancer.

Who Is At Risk?

  • Men and women aged 50 and older are at almost equal risk of developing colorectal cancer.
  • Those who have a personal or family history of colorectal neoplasia (cancer or polyps) are at high risk of developing the disease.
  • Anyone who has a personal history of inflammatory bowel disease, such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease, is also at high risk.
  • Although the incidence of colorectal cancer appears to be the same among all racial groups, survival rates seem to be lower for African-Americans.

 You are at average risk for colorectal cancer if you:

  • Are age 50 or older and have no other risk factors.

 You are at increased risk for colorectal cancer if you:

  • Have a personal history of Colorectal cancer or adenomatous polyps.
  • Have a family history – one or more parents, brothers and/or sisters, or children – of Colorectal cancer or adenomatous polyps
  • Have a family history of multiple cancers, involving the breast, ovary, uterus, and other organs
  • Have a personal history of inflammatory bowel disease, such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s Disease

Other factors that increase your risk of developing Colorectal cancer are:

  • A diet that is low in fiber and high in fat (and high in red meats)
  • A non-active lifestyle

Colorectal cancer often begins without symptoms.  However, there are a number of warning signs; if you are experiencing any of the following conditions please contact our office immediately:

  • Rectal bleeding
  • Cramping pain in your lower abdomen
  • Weight loss without dieting
  • Change in your bowel movements, especially in the shape of the stool (e.g.,  narrow like a pencil)
  • Discomfort in or the urge to move your bowels when there is no need
  • Constant fatigue
  • Blood in your stool (bright red, black, or dark)
  • Frequent gas pains

What You Need To Know…

  • Early detection saves lives – colorectal cancer is preventable, even curable when detected early.
  • If colorectal cancer is found early enough, the patient has more than a 90 percent chance of survival.
  • Colorectal cancer screenings are safe and effective and are now covered by Medicare and an increasing number of other health providers.
  • Several screening methods can be used to detect polyps before they become cancerous, such as fecal occult blood test, colonoscopy, flexible sigmoidoscopy, and barium x-ray. These tests also can detect cancer in its early stages.
  • Colon cancer rates have fallen by 30% over the past decade in people over age 50 due to increased awareness

How Can You Prevent Colorectal Cancer?

  • Know your family history.
  • Maintain a diet low in animal fat and high in fruits, vegetables, and fiber.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Prevent obesity.
  • Avoid cigarette smoking.
  • Avoid Colon Cancer: Get Screened! Request an appointment today

Info from the American Gastrological Association

  • Caring for you, close to home – visit one of our five convenient locations!
    Call us today (336) 768-6211

  • Winston-Salem Office & Endoscopy Center

    Monday-Friday
    Office: 8 am-5 pm
    Endoscopy Center:
    7:30 am-4 pm


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  • Advance Office
    & Endoscopy Center

    Monday-Friday
    Office: 8 am-4 pm
    Endoscopy Center:
    7 am-4 pm

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  • Kernersville Office &
    Endoscopy Center

    Monday-Friday
    Office: 8 am-4:45 pm
    Endoscopy Center:
    7:30 am-4 pm

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  • Thomasville Office &
    Endoscopy Center

    Monday-Friday
    Office: 8 am-4 pm
    Endoscopy Center:
    7:30 am-4 pm


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  • King Office & Endoscopy Center

    Monday-Friday
    Office: 7:30 am-4 pm
    Endoscopy Center:
    7:30 am-4 pm


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    For more information on the safety measures we are  taking, please visit:
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    *As of February 21, 2018, Digestive Health Specialists, P.A. (DHS) associated with Novant Health Community Connect (NHCC). NHCC allows independently owned physician practices to access shared patient records with other providers within the NHCC and Novant Health System. This allows us to offer you the same individualized specialty care you have come to expect from DHS with enhanced communication between you and our office and between us and your other health care providers.

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    *Epic and MyChart are registered trademarks of Epic Systems Corporation. Used with permission.

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