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Doctors' Answers to "Frequently Asked Questions" - Colorectal Cancer
Colorectal Cancer [posted 8/11/98]
Answer: The prevention rate of colon cancer varies with the screening method. Most patients do not have colonoscopies every 3-5 years unless they are at high family risk or have documented preexisting polyps. Most of the dietary changes that you mention also have other health benefits. I think it is beneficial to follow this diet for several reasons, colon cancer being only a minor issue. Cholesterol and coronary disease are a much bigger issue.
Answer: There are many causes of blood in one's stool. The most common cause under 35 or 40 is bleeding from hemorrhoids. This should produce bright, red blood-usually on toilet tissue as well as in the stool. However, persistent bleeding needs to be checked. This does not need a specialist
if your physician is comfortable using an anoscope and/or a flexible sigmoidoscope. While cancer is a possibility-it is uncommon(with no family history). Commnon causes not related to hemorrhoids would include colitis, and congenital lesions called arteriolar-venous malformations.
These are reasonably common in young patients and need to be diagnosed early due to the different treatment strategies and courses of each.