Colon cancer is one of the leading causes of death, yet many people avoid getting screened because they are afraid of the exam. A colonoscopy is a safe and easy way to detect any changes in the colon or rectum. With regular screenings, you can help protect yourself and your loved ones from the dangers of colon cancer.

Dr. Bradley Hicks, of Washington Regional Gastroenterology Clinic, says “Colon cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosis in the United States, but it’s actually the second most common cause of cancer related death when men and women are combined. Overall, the lifetime risk of developing colorectal cancer is about 4% for both men and women.”

Dr. Hicks says any average risk individual who are 45 years of age or older should have a colonoscopy. “Modifiable risk factors for colon cancer include smoking, heavy alcohol use being overweight, uncontrolled type two diabetes, certain types of diets such as those that are high in processed meats. Non modifiable risk factors include a family history of colon cancer or high risk adenomatous polyps, a personal history of inflammatory bowel disease and having an inherited syndrome such as Lynch.”

Dr. Hicks says there are many other waring signs or symptoms that could signal a need for a screening such as changes in bowel habits and other abdominal symptoms that should be discussed with your primary physician.

To schedule your colonoscopy or to learn more about the Washington Regional Gastroenterology Clinic visit their website.