All you need to know about colon cancer screening

Everyone knows that cancer is a disease that causes many deaths in the United States, especially if not treated timely and properly. While many people are aware of such cancer types as lung cancer, brain cancer, and blood cancer, colorectal cancer is not that well-known despite being the second cause of cancer death in the country.

Those who develop this type of cancer are usually aged 45 and older, but a third of people who might develop the condition have not yet gone through screening tests.

In this article, we will give you the necessary information on colon cancer screening so that you can prevent the development of the disease early.

When is it best to do the screening?

Depending on your family history and health records, the age for this test may vary. However, it is recommended to start screening when people reach the age of 45 unless you are subject to developing the condition based on your risk level.

Among the factors that may lead to colon cancer are the following:

  • Crohn’s disease or other inflammatory bowel diseases
  • Polyps
  • Genetics, if a family member was diagnosed with colon cancer

What are the screening options?

Since the methods of doing medical tests are progressing at a fast pace, people are free to choose the best screening option for their case.

Below you will find five ways to screen for colon cancer:

  • Colonoscopy

Colonoscopy is perhaps the surest way to identify colon cancer and precancerous polyps. This procedure has a low risk of damaging or hurting the patient, although sometimes people might experience little bleeding after the test.

A doctor will examine the colon with the help of a flexible tube with a camera at its end and will be able to spot any negative changes from the inside.

  • Fecal immunochemical test

To do this test, people are supposed to collect their stool and take it to the lab. Sometimes there is hidden blood in the stool that can only be identified under a microscope. It is recommended to do FIT on a yearly basis to detect early signs of colon cancer.  

  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy

This test takes less time than a colonoscopy, and the procedure is almost the same: a tube is inserted into the rectum, but the doctor will be looking only at the lower part of the colon. Statistics claim that the test detects about 70% of polyps and cancers.

  • CT colonography

Still, with the use of a tube, but with this option, a doctor will make a CT scan of the colon. In case abnormalities are found, the patient will be asked to do a colonoscopy.

  • Cologuard

This test examines atypical DNA and hidden blood in a patient’s stool and helps detect early signs of polyps and cancer. However, this is not the most accurate test since, in 13% of the cases, it shows that a patient has cancer when in fact, they don’t.

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