What’s the best birthday gift you can give yourself? Lifelong good health.
Have your first colon cancer screening at age 50 and then repeat every 10 years.
Colon cancer begins with a growth – called a polyp – on the colon.
A colonoscopy is hands-down the No. #1 way for doctors to detect these polyps. By performing a colonoscopy, your doctor can find and remove polyps before they become cancerous. In addition, a colonoscopy can find early-stage cancer when it is still 90 percent curable, when most people affected don’t have symptoms.
But if symptoms of colorectal cancer do develop, they often include:
- A change in bowel habits, such as diarrhea or constipation, that lasts for more than a few days
- A feeling that you need to have a bowel movement that doesn’t go away after doing so
- Rectal bleeding, dark stool or blood in the stool
- Cramping or stomach pain
- Weakness and fatigue
And remember, colon polyps can grow and become cancerous without any symptoms at all. That’s why it’s so important to have a colonoscopy at age 50.
Colon cancer risk increases with age, and increases if you have a personal or family history of cancer.
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