What you need to know about colorectal cancer screening
Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in the United States. But did you know that colorectal cancer is the most preventable and curable cancer if it is caught early?
Colorectal cancer occurs in the colon or rectum at the lower end of the human digestive tract. Regular check-ups are essential for preventing colorectal cancer. The US Multi-Society Task Force for colon cancer recommends that men and women start colorectal cancer screening at the age of 50. Of course, if you have a family history of colorectal cancer or other high-risk factors for cancer, you may want to start colorectal cancer screening before age 50.
Colonoscopy, starting at the age of 50, is the gold standard for colorectal cancer prevention. But if you don’t qualify for a colonoscopy, your doctor may recommend other screening methods. You will need to discuss the pros and cons of different testing methods carefully and in detail with your doctor to decide which method is best for your health needs.
Simple but most commonly used test: The stool test
maybe the easiest way to screen for colorectal cancer is because a stool sample can be placed at home in the kit your doctor gave you. Then, special chemical reagents are used in the doctor’s laboratory to test the stool for blood. People who are not suitable for colonoscopy are generally recommended to do this type of examination such as Cologuard. However, if you have a family history of colorectal cancer or are at high risk of colorectal cancer, you can skip this test, but you must discuss with your doctor to choose another colorectal cancer screening method that suits you. If the bowel cancer stool test result is normal, it will be done once a year in the future.
The least invasive but not cheap test: virtual colonoscopy
X-rays the colon using a CT scanner. The doctor then analyzes the images to check for abnormalities. If the check shows that you are doing fine, it will only need to be repeated every five years in the future. Keep in mind that if the CT colon scan images show anything unusual, your doctor is likely to order an additional colonoscopy.
Wider and more thorough examination: sigmoidoscopy is
one grade less effective than colonoscopy. This test involves doctors inserting a short, flexible, flexible tube into the lower third of the colon to check for abnormal polyps or cancer in the bowel. This test method may vary depending on your medical condition and your doctor’s approach. Anesthesia is usually not required for this test. Inspections are done every five years. But if any abnormalities are found, you will still have to have another colonoscopy.
The most in-depth, diagnostic test: Colonoscopy
Instead of just looking at the lower third of the colon like a sigmoidoscopy, doctors use a long flexible tube to check for polyps or cancers throughout the colon. Your doctor may take a sample of intestinal tissue or polyps for further examination and testing. If the test confirms the presence of precancerous cells, removing the polyp can prevent and stop cancer progression. If needed, the doctor can also treat other symptoms of the bowel, such as redness or sores (ulcers) or bleeding, on the spot. This is usually an outpatient procedure and does not require a hospital stay. Based on the test results, your doctor will recommend a colonoscopy every five to ten years in the future.
This March is Colorectal Cancer Prevention Awareness Month in the United States. I hope that this month, you will learn about and compare these types of colorectal cancer screening methods with your doctor. No matter which tests your doctor recommends, the most important thing is that you do it regularly. These tests can be uncomfortable and even embarrassing, but it’s important to remember that colorectal cancer can be caught early, and can be treated relatively easily, and we can even prevent it from arising.