Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths. But it is one of the most easily prevented cancers because it develops from polyps that can be removed before they become cancerous. If detected early, colon cancer treatment is successful with 85-90% of patients living at least five years.
At Gundersen Health System, we believe the best screening for colon cancer for you is a colonoscopy.
During a colonoscopy, a doctor uses a thin, flexible, lighted scope to inspect the entire length of the colon for abnormal growths. If a polyp (a precancerous growth) or anything suspicious is found during the procedure, it can be removed or a tissue sample is taken.
Gundersen recommends everyone have a colonoscopy every 10 years starting at age 50; earlier if there’s a family history of colon cancer or polyps. A colonoscopy may also be appropriate for anyone experiencing prolonged symptoms, such as:
- Blood in the stool
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Changes in bowel habits or stool
- Bloating, gas pains or cramps
- Unexplained weight loss
- Extreme tiredness
Gundersen physicians perform colonoscopies at many hospitals in the Tri-state Region. Check with your primary care provider to see if a Gundersen physician does the procedure at a hospital near you.