Colon Cancer Screenings – There’s more than one

As with any cancer, early detection is important because catching cancer in its early stages is when treatment works best. Of cancers that affect men and women, colon cancer is the #2 cause of cancer deaths in the U.S.! This can be prevented with screening.

It’s important to know that both men and women age 50 and over should start screening regularly. Colorectal cancer screenings are designed to check for polyps in your colon and remove them. Polyps are abnormal growths that could turn into cancer if left alone.

Did you know that there is more than one type of colon cancer screening? There are actually three. Here’s a breakdown.

High-Sensitivity Fecal Occult colorectal_infographic_600pxBlood Test (FOBT)

This test is to check for hidden blood in your stool. You will be given a kit to take home where you will collect a stool sample to bring back for lab tests. Your physician may ask that you take multiple stool samples consecutively. This test should be done once a year.

Flexible Sigmoidoscopy

The flexible sigmoidoscopy colonoscopy screening is designed to check for polyps or cancer in the rectum and lower third portion of your colon. During the screening, the physician will insert a short, thin, flexible, lighted tube into the rectum. This test should be done every 5 years or in combination with a FOBT test every three years.

Colonoscopy

This test is similar to the Flexible Sigmoidoscopy except the doctor uses a longer tube to check for polyps inside the rectum and the entire colon. During this test, the doctor can spot and remove any polyps found. You will be given medication for the procedure to make your experience more comfortable. This test should be done every 10 years.

At Gastrointestinal Specialists, we make colon cancer screenings as comfortable and easy as possible.  It’s important that you get screened so give us a call or make an appointment today. Screening requests can be done easily on our website here.

Further Reading:

Colorectal Cancer Facts

Preparing for a Colonoscopy

Colon Cancer Awareness Month