If you suffer from geriatric ulcerative colitis, ask a doctor to screen you for colon cancer soon. Inflammatory bowel diseases like geriatric ulcerative colitis can change the natural environment of your colon over time. Not only can ulcerative colitis cause abnormal bleeding in your colon and rectum, but the disease can also cause small cancerous polyps to grow in your digestive system. Learn more about geriatric ulcerative colitis and why you may need a colon cancer screening for it below.
How Does Geriatric Ulcerative Colitis Affect Your Colon?
Geriatric ulcerative colitis causes small ulcers and inflammation to develop inside the colon and rectum of people 60 years old and over. The sores eventually release small amounts of blood into the colon and rectum. People who have the disease may experience a wide range of mild to severe symptoms over time, including abdominal pain, diarrhea, and rectal bleeding.
The inflammation and sores can also cause small precancerous polyps to grow on the linings of the colon and rectum over time. The polyps may or may not cause pain to occur in the rectum or colon. In most cases, people may not know they have precancerous polyps in their rectum or colon until they undergo a colon, or colorectal, cancer screening.
What Should You Know About Colon Cancer Screening?
Doctors use three types of colon cancer screening tests on patients today, including virtual colonoscopy, tool sampling, and flexible sigmoidoscopy. The tests:
- look for signs of internal bleeding in the colon and rectum
- detect polyps and other abnormal findings in the colon and rectum
- assess the condition of the colon and rectum
If the colorectal screening tests above uncover the presence of polyps inside the colon, rectum, or both, doctors will administer a fourth screening test called a colonoscopy on patients. A colonoscopy test not only allows physicians to examine the entire length of the colon, but doctors can also use it to remove as many polyps and cancerous growths from the colon as they can safely do so.
After patients complete their initial cancer screenings, doctors may recommend they return to the office for additional screenings in the future. The screenings help monitor the internal environment of the digestive system over time. If any of the screenings reveal additional growths in the colon or rectum, doctors can schedule a colonoscopy to remove them.
If you think a colon cancer screening test can benefit you, consult a doctor today.