Calculating the risk is not an exact science, but several factors are associated
with a higher risk of developing colorectal polyps or colorectal cancer:
Colon cancer occurs when normal cells in the large intestine grow uncontrollably and interfere with the colon’s normal
functioning, and spread to nearby organs. The cancer usually begins as pre-cancerous polyps which, if detected early,
can be removed during colonoscopy, the cancer prevented and the colon preserved. But at this stage, there are usually
no physical symptoms.
polyps turn cancerous
and grow, there may be more overt signs, such as changes in bowel habits, blood in the
stools, weight loss and abdominal discomfort. It is important to know that early cancers may also have no symptoms.
Screening for colon cancer is vital and should be done regularly from age 50. If you have a family history,
about beginning before age 50. Early detection means a higher chance of cure, and these are some of the
different tests for colon cancer:
Colonoscopy This test
allows the doctor to look at the entire length of the colon and rectum using a
colonoscope – a thin and very long, flexible, lit tube with a small video camera on the end. Special instruments can be
passed through it to take samples or remove polyps.
Double-contrast barium enema
This test uses barium sulfate, a chalky liquid, to line the colon and
rectum before an X-ray is taken. If abnormalities show, a colonoscopy will be done to do a closer examination.
CT colonography (virtual colonoscopy)
This test uses computed tomography (CT) to scan and capture
detailed 2D and 3D X-ray images of the inside of the colon and rectum. Like barium enema, if any problems are
detected, a colonoscopy would be needed to remove any polyps or do biopsies.