Because precancerous cells take 10 to 15 years to develop into colon cancer (colorectal cancer), regular screening is a highly successful tool for prevention. Screening tests can detect colon cancer at its earliest, most treatable stages.
For people who are not at increased risk of colorectal cancer, screening is recommended starting at age 50. Dignity Health North State offers several different screening options to help prevent colon cancer in Northern California. To talk an oncologist about your options, Find a Doctor using our online tool.
Colon Cancer Risk Factors
There is no clear cause of colon cancer, but certain risk factors increase your likelihood of developing it. Risk factors for colon cancer include:
- 50 years of age and older
- Personal or family history of colorectal polyps or colon cancer
- History of IBD (inflammatory bowel disease), including ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- African American race
- Genetic syndromes or gene mutations
Certain lifestyle factors can also increase your risk of colon cancer, such as smoking, poor diet, obesity, heavy alcohol use, and not exercising. Your doctor will determine when to begin cancer screening tests based on your individual risk factors.
Colon Cancer Screening at Dignity Health North State
Dignity Health North State offers colon cancer screening exams, including colonoscopy. Screening exams are the most effective measure you can take for the prevention of colon cancer. Talk with your doctor about which option is best for you.
Along with regular screenings, making small changes in your daily habits can reduce your likelihood of developing colon cancer. Lifestyle tips to lower your risk of colon cancer include:
- Quit smoking.
- Drink alcohol in moderation.
- Eat a balanced diet, including a variety of vegetables, whole grains, and fresh fruit.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Get daily moderate to vigorous exercise.
If you have questions about colon cancer prevention or you would like to schedule a screening to create a personalized prevention plan with one of our expert oncologists, schedule an appointment at Dignity Health North State today.