Colon cancer screenings are tests to detect signs of disease before it starts causing symptoms. Colon cancer almost always develops from polyps, and when these polyps are found during a colon cancer screening, they can be dealt with immediately, before they have a chance to turn into colon cancer.
In fact, colon cancer deaths among people aged 50 and older have gone down since colon cancer screenings by up to 50 percent.
Let’s talk more about colon cancer screenings.
Methods Used To Screen for Colon Cancer
There are several tests that physicians use to screen for colon cancer:
- Stool tests such as the guaiac-based fecal occult blood test (gFOBT), fecal immunochemical test (FIT), and FIT-DNA test check for either the presence of blood in the stool or evidence of altered DNA, which could mean colon cancer.
- Flexible Sigmoidoscopy, which checks for abnormal changes in the rectum and the lower colon. The test uses a sigmoidoscope, which is a thin, flexible, and lighted instrument with a camera at the tip.
- Colonoscopy also involves the use of a thin, flexible, and lighted instrument with a camera at the tip, this time a colonoscope, to examine the rectum and the entire colon. During the test, the doctor can also perform the treatment by removing precancerous polyps and some cancers. A colonoscopy is both a screening method and a treatment method as instruments can be passed down the colonoscope to perform corrective measures. It can also be used to get a tissue sample for purposes of biopsy.
If the first two screening methods reveal something suspicious, a follow-up test – a colonoscopy – is usually recommended. A colonoscopy remains the most comprehensive method used to screen for colon cancer. A colonoscopy eliminates the need for surgery to remove polyps.
Early Detection Saves Lives
Regular colonoscopies help with the early detection and treatment of colon cancer. If precancerous polyps are found, their removal already reduces your risk of colon cancer by 90 percent. Studies show that colonoscopies reduce the risk of death from left-sided and right-sided colorectal cancer by 61 percent. If colon cancer is found, hopefully in its early stages, you are more likely to have better treatment outcomes. Early detection of colon cancer is lifesaving. It is one cancer that has a screening test, and many types do not have an effective screening method.
According to the American Cancer Society, men and women over the age of 45 should get screened for colon cancer. Talk to your doctor about when to have colon cancer screening, which test is more appropriate for you, and how often you should get tested.
Colon Cancer Screening in Westlake and Brooklyn, Ohio
If you are concerned about colon cancer, our highly experienced gastroenterologists at North Shore Gastroenterology can help you maintain colon health and recommend the type of colon cancer screening for you. We currently offer stool tests, flexible sigmoidoscopy, and colonoscopy to screen for colon cancer. Our expertise and compassion make us a top choice for gastrointestinal care in Westlake and Brooklyn, Ohio.
To schedule an appointment with one of our GI doctors, call our clinic today at (440) 808-1212 or use our convenient online request form. We look forward to being your partner in having better colon health.