Colon cancer is a condition that widely affects men and women as they get older. In fact, those over the age of 45 are recommended to get screened for signs of colon cancer regularly to reduce the risk of catching the disease too late. The good news is that 9 out of 10 patients who catch colon cancer in its early stages are able to treat it effectively. How do you catch colon cancer early on? Consider getting a screening provided by your doctor. Discover the contrasts between Cologuard vs. colonoscopy – two primary screenings available to patients for colon cancer, the benefits of each, and which test may be right for you and your individual needs.
What is Cologuard?
Cologuard is a revolutionary way for patients to test for signs of colon cancer from the comfort and convenience of their homes. Instead of going in to visit their providers, Cologuard gives patients the opportunity to check for signs of colon cancer or cancerous polyps in the colon via a small stool sample provided through the mail. The Cologuard experts look for abnormalities in your DNA or traces of blood in your stool to provide you with a diagnosis. Studies have shown that Cologuard finds 92 percent of all colon cancers and 94 percent of stage I and stage II colon cancers.
What are the Benefits of Cologuard?
There are many benefits of using Cologuard to screen yourself for colon cancer, including:
- Colon cancer screening from the comfort of your home.
- The test is prescribed and provided by your doctor.
- Tests only need to be performed once every three years.
- Stool samples are easy to collect with online patient resources as a guide.
- Tests are generally accurate and provide doctors with more insight into your colon health.
It is important to keep in mind that Cologuard is not always accurate and that there may be a small chance you will receive a false negative or false positive result. For this reason, it is always recommended to follow up with your provider following Cologuard testing.
What is a Colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy is a well-known and popular examination to detect abnormalities in the rectum, large intestine, and small intestine. In addition to checking for signs of cancer like polyps in the colon, a colonoscopy can also detect swelling, irritated tissues, and signs of other bowel diseases like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
A colonoscopy involves using a long flexible tube fitted with a camera to view the inside of the rectum and colon to detect signs of these abnormalities. Patients typically must prepare for their colonoscopies a couple of days prior by fasting and using laxatives to clear their digestive systems. Colonoscopies are generally accurate, as providers are able to see visible characteristics of the colon and remove polyps for testing immediately.
What are the Benefits of a Colonoscopy?
There are many benefits of receiving a colonoscopy for cancer screening, including:
- Generally accurate diagnoses of cancerous polyps or other abnormalities
- The test is prescribed and safely performed by your doctor
- Tests only need to be performed once every 10 years
Is Cologuard or a Colonoscopy Better for Me?
The answer to this question ultimately depends on your age and your risk of developing colon cancer. Patients who are in good general health, are over the age of 45, do not have a family history of colon cancer, and are at an average risk of developing colon cancer are ideal candidates for testing with Cologuard.
On the other hand, if you have a family history of colon cancer, are at a higher risk of developing colon cancer in the future, or are over the age of 60, it is recommended you see your doctor for a colonoscopy at least once every 10 years for accurate results.
Colon Cancer Screening Near Me
Getting regular colon cancer screenings is crucial for ensuring you detect signs of cancer early on while the disease is still treatable or beatable. While Cologuard may be right for some patients, it is not always the best option for everyone. It is important you speak with your doctor about using Cologuard in place of a colonoscopy to detect signs of cancer in your stool.
If you are looking to get a colon cancer screening in Westlake or Brooklyn, OH, look no further than North Shore Gastroenterology and Endoscopy Centers. Our expert providers are proud to offer comprehensive, evidence-based care.