Colon Health & Colorectal Cancer Screenings

The colon is an immensely important organ in the human body. When colon health isn't top of mind, a number of symptoms may arise that can be difficult to ignore—and talking to your doctor about these symptoms may be imperative to your long-term health.

Conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, and diverticular disease affect millions of Americans and can severely impact quality of life for those individuals. Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States, and the National Cancer Institute estimates that 4.5% of men and women will be diagnosed with this life-threatening disease during their lifetimes. The highly skilled team at Hendricks Regional Health is committed to preventing, diagnosing and treating these conditions.

About Colonoscopies

90% of Colon Cancer Deaths are Preventable

Routine colorectal cancer screenings can prevent up to 90% of these cases—and it's crucial to catch the disease early. A colonoscopy is a simple and painless procedure enabling our specialists to find and remove polyps within the inner lining of the large intestine, which are often the starting point for colon and rectal cancers. Colonoscopies can also reveal ulcers, tumors, bleeding, and areas of inflammation within the rectum and colon.

A colonoscopy is recommended every 10 years for everyone who is age 50 or older, but those with a close family history of these cancers or polyps should begin routine screenings at age 40.

During a colonoscopy, a doctor will view the inner lining of the large intestines using a thin, flexible tube with a camera. Tissue samples might also be collected and abnormal growths may be removed. Patients must "prep" for the screening in advance, which includes cleaning out the colon based on instructions given by the doctor.

Colorectal Risks & Symptoms

Certain factors can increase your risk for colorectal cancer, and certain symptoms are common for those suffering from issues of the colon. See if any of the following statements apply to you:

Identify Increased Risks for Colorectal Cancer

  • Are you over 50 years of age?
  • Any immediate family members who have had colorectal cancer?
  • Do you have a previous history of polyps present in the colon or rectum?
  • Do you smoke?
  • Are you overweight?
  • Do you drink more than one alcoholic drink a day?
  • Do you consume a diet high in red meats, such as beef, pork, lamb, and veal; or processed meats, such as hot dogs and lunch meats?
  • Are you African American, or Jewish with descendants from Eastern Europe?

Recognize the Symptoms of Colon Disease

  • Have you had a change in bowel habits lasting for more than a few days, including diarrhea, constipation, or a sensation that your bowel still isn't empty after a bowel movement?
  • Do you have bright red or very dark blood in your stool?
  • Do you feel tired constantly?
  • Any unusual food cravings, such as for ice?
  • Are your stools thinner than usual and/or appear slimy or have a mucous film on them?
  • Experiencing persistent gas pains, bloating, fullness, or cramps?
  • Do you have unexplained weight loss?
  • Any signs of vomiting?

Talk to your physician to learn more about your personal risk and how you can take preventative action to reduce the risk factors within your own influence. To seek medical advice about your existing symptoms — whether you're experiencing one or multiple — or if you would like to schedule a routine screening, fill out our appointment request form online. Depending on your immediate needs, we'll connect you with one of our board-certified gastroenterologists or a primary care physician.

Patient Success Stories

Our award-winning team offers dedicated digestive services and a unique continuum of care to patients experiencing mild to severe symptoms. Read our patient stories for a deeper dive into the Hendricks experience, and call us at (317) 745-3627 to request an evaluation.

Learn More about our full scale services:

Digestive Health and Endoscopy