Colon cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in the United States, and early detection is key to better patient outcomes. Just like many other cancers, colon cancer does not cause symptoms until it’s in advanced stages. That’s why colon cancer is often detected early through screening tests. Understanding these tests can help you make an informed decision about which screening test may be right for you.
The two main types of colon cancer screening tests are stool-based and imaging-based tests. Stool-based tests look for blood or other abnormal substances in your stool that could indicate the presence of colon cancer, while imaging-based tests use advanced imaging technology to visualize the colon and check for suspicious growths that might suggest colon cancer.
We will discuss the most common colon cancer screening tests and where you can go in Westlake or Brooklyn, OH, for colon cancer screening.
Stool-based tests for colon cancer screening involve collecting a sample of your stool and sending it to a laboratory for analysis. The most used test is called fecal occult blood testing (FOBT). This test looks for tiny amounts of hidden blood in the stool that cannot be seen by the naked eye. If this type of blood is found, it could indicate polyps or other abnormalities in the colon that need further investigation.
Another type of stool-based test for colon cancer is the fecal immuno chemical test (FIT), which also checks for the presence of blood in the stool. The FIT test can be combined with a DNA test, or a (FIT)-DNA test, which checks for altered DNA in the stool.
Stool-based tests are usually for patients who prefer a less invasive method to screen for colon cancer. The results of a stool-based test, if positive, usually necessitate more testing, such as a colonoscopy.
Visual examination of the colon is usually done using a scope, a light, and a camera that allows the doctor to see images of the colon in real-time on a screen. The two most used visual exams to screen for colon cancer are sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy.
Sigmoidoscopies involve a doctor inserting the lighted scope with the camera attached at the end into the rectum to examine the lower part of the colon and look for any abnormalities that may be indicative of cancer. This method is limited to visualizing just the rectum and the lower area of the colon, whereas a colonoscopy uses a longer tube, which allows the doctor to see inside the rectum and the entire colon. For individuals who are at average risk for colon cancer, a colonoscopy can be performed every 10 years, whereas a sigmoidoscopy should be performed every five years.
If you are concerned about colon cancer, consult your doctor for your options for colon cancer screening. They will recommend the appropriate test based on your age, risk factors, and preference.
Colon Cancer Screening in Westlake and Brooklyn, OH
North Shore Gastroenterology is your colon cancer screening provider in Westlake and Brooklyn. Our gastroenterologists have the specialized training to perform sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy, minimizing the risk of complications for the patient.
Call us today for a consultation. Our number is (440) 808-1212 or use our convenient online form to send an appointment request. The friendly staff at North Shore Gastroenterology looks forward to serving you.