Colorectal Cancer Screening
Too many people wait until they experience symptoms before scheduling a colorectal screening. By then, the cancer may be more difficult to treat and cure. That’s why it is so important to schedule regular screenings. Screening can detect cancer, but can also prevent it. Screening can detect pre-cancerous polyps which can be removed and prevent them from becoming cancer in the future.
There are several different ways to screen for colorectal cancer. Screening is recommended for anyone age 45 and older. Screening should start earlier if you have risk factors such as a family history of cancer. Talk to your doctor.
A colonoscopy is the most effective method of detecting cancer in the early stages and is recommended every 10 years for average-risk individuals. If pre-cancerous polyps are found, these can usually be removed during the same procedure.
How is the procedure performed?
The day before the procedure, you will be asked to take laxatives to clean out the colon.
The day of the procedure, an IV will be placed, and you will get a deep sedation. People generally do not feel or remember anything from the procedure.
The doctor will insert the scope into the rectum and examine the entire colon, which usually takes 20-30 minutes. Polyps may be removed or biopsies may be taken.
The sedation wears off quickly, and you will feel most of the way back to normal before you leave. You will need a ride home, and you will be asked not to drink alcohol, drive, or operate heavy machinery for the rest of the day.
Call 330.253.1800 to schedule your colonoscopy screening.
Other Screening Tests
Although a colonoscopy is the most effective method of detecting colorectal cancer at an early stage, there are other less invasive colorectal cancer screening options that your doctor may prescribe or that you may choose.
Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT)
The Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) detects traces of blood in the stool. This colon cancer test:
- Can be done in the privacy of your home
- Is non-invasive
- Is easy to do
- Requires no special prep, changes to your diet or medicines
If you choose a FIT test for screening, this should be done every year.
If the FIT test shows traces of blood in the stool, a colonoscopy is generally recommended.
DNA Tests (e.g. Cologuard)
This is the newest class of screening test for colorectal cancer. It tests the stool for blood like a FIT test, but also tests for DNA in the stool that might be from cancer cells.
If you choose a DNA test, this should be done every 3 years.
If the DNA test is positive, a colonoscopy is generally recommended.
Call 800.237.8662 to schedule a FIT or DNA colorectal screening with your primary care provider.