Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Colon Mailbag

Classic Mama asked a very good question in the comments that I wanted to highlight. She asked, "Should most people, even if colon cancer isn't in their genes, get one when they turn 30?"

The short answer is no. The prescribed age for starting colonoscopies is 50. It is recommended that all individuals over the age of 40 have yearly digital examinations of the rectum and their stool tested for hidden or "occult" blood. During digital examination of the rectum, the doctor inserts a gloved finger into the rectum to feel for abnormal growths. Stool samples can be obtained to test for occult blood. The prostate gland can be examined at the same time.

However, if you have any of the following symptoms, visit your physician right away:

Thin Stool
Stomach Cramps
Bloody Stool
Unexplained weight loss
Sense of fullness
Nausea & Vomitting
Gas & Bloating

Of course, many of these symptoms can be attributed to other normal functions of your body. But if you suspect anything out of the ordinary, don't hesitate in consulting with a doctor.

For people with a family history of colon cancer, ask your physician's advice about when you should start screening.

For more information visit: WebMd, Mayo Clinic, Medicine Net.

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