Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States — yet with regular screening it is preventable.

Early detection is key when treating colorectal cancer. Most people should begin receiving colon treatments by age 45, but patients with an increased risk due to family history or abnormal polyps may need treatment sooner. Talk to your doctor for more information on when you should begin receiving colon screenings.

Puneet S. Basi, MD, gastroenterologist at UPMC Susquehanna, said patients often avoid or delay colonoscopies due to busy schedules:

“The two most common reasons people put off having a colonoscopy are ‘I can’t take time off work,’ and ‘I don’t want to go through the preparation process.’”

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New direct referrals enable patients to both see a gastroenterologist and undergo a colonoscopy on the same day, making the screening process less time-intensive.

RELATED: Know the Facts About Colon Cancer

If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, contact your doctor immediately:

  • Bloody stool
  • Frequent stomach aches and cramps
  • A change in bowel habits, including narrower stool
  • Losing weight without explanation
  • Constipation or diarrhea without explanation

Read Dr. Basi’s full blog post for more information on the colonoscopy process.

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Editor's Note: This article was originally published on , and was last reviewed on .

About UPMC

Headquartered in Pittsburgh, UPMC is a world-renowned health care provider and insurer. We operate 40 hospitals and 800 doctors’ offices and outpatient centers, with locations throughout Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York, West Virginia, and internationally. We employ 4,900 physicians, and we are leaders in clinical care, groundbreaking research, and treatment breakthroughs. U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside as one of the nation’s best hospitals in many specialties and ranks UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh on its Honor Roll of America’s Best Children’s Hospitals. We are dedicated to providing Life Changing Medicine to our communities.