Listen to your body. Sometimes it’s trying to give you certain warning signs.
Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related death in the US, so it’s important to be able to recognize changes in your health that could be red flags. Whether you have a family history of colorectal cancer or you are over the age of 50, you may be concerned about your chances of developing colorectal cancer. Our Clearwater, FL, gastroenterologists Dr. Umesh Choudhry and Dr. Gourisankar Degala are here to provide you with the insight you need to make the most informed decision about your health.
What are the symptoms of colorectal cancer?
These are some of the common symptoms and signs of colon cancer:
- Bowel changes that last several weeks (e.g. constipation; diarrhea)
- Rectal bleeding
- Unexplained weight loss
- Abdominal cramping or pain
- Feeling as if bowels don’t empty fully
It’s important to keep in mind that most people don’t experience symptoms in the early stages of colon cancer and that when symptoms do manifest it’s often when cancer has progressed; however, it’s also important to recognize that these symptoms can also be indicative of other gastrointestinal conditions. So, the best way to handle the situation if you are dealing with any of these symptoms is to call our Clearwater, FL, GI doctor for an immediate evaluation.
What can I do to reduce my risk of colon cancer?
While exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, reducing alcohol consumption, quitting smoking and eating a balanced diet can all be great ways to keep you healthy and to reduce your chances of colon cancer, the best thing you can do for your health is to get a routine colonoscopy after you turn 50 years old (you may need to get a colonoscopy earlier in life if you have a personal or family history of colorectal cancer).
A colonoscopy will allow us to check the health of the digestive tract, to look for polyps (and remove them) and to also determine the cause of some of your symptoms. If your colonoscopy results come back fine then you won’t typically require another colonoscopy for 10 years. A colonoscopy is the simplest way to protect against colon cancer and it could just end up saving your life.
No matter if you are experiencing the symptoms above or you want to schedule your routine colonoscopy, turn to the GI experts at Advanced Digestive Care in Clearwater, FL, to provide you with the quality gastroenterological care you need.