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Colon cancer can be a “silent killer” because it can grow for some time without causing any symptoms. Sometimes a colon cancer can be quite advanced before a person knows it is there. That is the bad news. The good news is that colon cancer is preventable or curable if it is discovered early. The best way to do that is to have a full colonoscopy to visualize the entire length of the colon and biopsy or remove any polyps or abnormalities. Colonoscopy is not a particularly comfortable procedure, but it can be a lifesaver. Typically, the first colonoscopy is recommended at age 50. However, it may be necessary to start at an earlier age, especially for those who have increased risk such as having ulcerative coloitis or a family history of colorectal cancer.
For those of you interested in learning more about screening for colon cancer, this video offers a good overview and dispels some common myths.