Are You at Risk for Colon Cancer?

Anyone can get colorectal cancer. Colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death in both men and women in the U.S., with about 148,800 new cases and 50,000 deaths expected annually.

In fact, 20-25% of colorectal cancer cases occur among individuals with a family history of colorectal cancer or a predisposing illness, about 75% of cases occur in people without these risk factors.

Colorectal Cancer Symptoms

  • A change in bowel habits
  • Blood in the stool
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Stools that are narrower than usual
  • Abdominal pains
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Feeling very tired
  • Vomiting
  • Family history of colorectal cancer

Colorectal Cancer Screening

Beginning at age 50, all men and women should be screened for colorectal cancer even if you are not experiencing any problems or symptoms. You may need to start earlier if you have a close relative with colorectal cancer or polyps. African Americans and people of Eastern European Jewish descent are more frequently diagnosed with colon cancer and may need to be screened prior to age 50.

Colonoscopy is the current gold standard for colon cancer screening. We recommend a colonoscopy, starting at age 50, as the best test for screening in healthy individuals.

Reducing Your Risk of Colorectal Cancer

Adopting a healthy lifestyle can help reduce your risks of developing polyps.

  • Eat a high fiber diet
  • Reduce your fat intake to less than 20 to 35 percent of total calories each day
  • Eat less red meat
  • Avoid excessive alcohol intake
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Exercise daily
  • Don’t smoke
  • Make sure you get enough calcium and folate in your diet

The Single Most Important Action You Can Take

  • Get Screened – Talk to your doctor about it or call Dayton Gastro at (937) 320-5050

What is a Colonoscopy?


A colonoscopy is the visual examination of the large intestine (colon), using a long, thin, flexible tube, the thickness of your finger, called a colonoscope, which is inserted into the rectum. It allows your physician to make a diagnosis and obtain a tissue sample or remove pre-cancerous growths (polyps).

The Preparation

Over the last several years colonoscopy preparations, to clean out the colon the day before the procedure, have changed. There are easier preps that involve drinking 8 glasses of liquid with the medicine dissolved in it or taking a series of laxative pills. Based on your age and medical conditions, you and your doctor can decide which the best prep is for you.

The Procedure

A mild sedative is given before the procedure and most patients do not remember anything about the procedure. If needed, you can be set up for ‘Total Intravenous Anesthesia’ that allows for even deeper sedation.

Don’t Be Embarrassed!

Many people feel uncomfortable about having a colonoscopy. We are aware of this and our care team takes steps to make sure you have a comfortable experience and have privacy during your procedure. If you want, you may even request the gastroenterologist of your choice for your procedure.

Additional Tests That Detect Colon Polyps

  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy allows the doctor to see the last portion of the colon, the rectum, and anus. It cannot detect polyps further up and does not require sedation.
  • Virtual colonoscopy is a CT scan test used to look for abnormalities of the large intestine. It does not require sedation, but does require the same bowel prep as a colonoscopy. The CT may not detect small polyps and your doctor cannot remove any polyps found. A colonoscopy will need to be scheduled to remove polyps. Virtual colonoscopy is not currently covered by Medicare and most insurance companies as an initial screening test.