The Different Colon Cancer Screening Tests

Old age comes along with various risk factors for different health problems, including colon cancer. Colon cancer, a type of non-skin cancer, is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States, with individuals over 50 years being at a higher risk.  Fortunately, Lima colon cancer screening may help detect colon cancer during its onset stages when it has not spread and is easier to treat. Patients with colon cancer exhibit signs and symptoms such as unexplained weight loss, body weakness, rectal bleeding, and constant abdominal discomfort. However, most people with colon cancer in its early stages may experience no symptoms. Undetected problems are why colon cancer screening from health screening package is necessary for everyone, with or without the signs and symptoms.

Colonoscopy

A colonoscopy is one of the most effective screening tests for colon cancer. The test involves examining the entire colon and rectum using a flexible tube fitted with a video camera. Colon cancer center doctor may recommend a thorough cleansing of the colon before the procedure, and you may need to observe diet changes and medication adjustments. Sedation may take place during the test to minimize any discomfort during the process. During the screening, your doctor will guide a colonoscope through the anus into the rectum. Air is pumped into the colon to facilitate a clear view of the colon lining. Your doctor can detect and remove any abnormal growths in the colon during the procedure. Some of the side effects one may experience include bloating and bleeding on the biopsy site.

Stool test

Most patients with colon cancer experience rectal bleeding and may have a stool with blood traces. Your doctor may recommend a stool test to check for tiny traces of blood in feces that cannot be physically identified. This test may also help your specialist rule out any other conditions, including hemorrhoids. Your doctor may send you home with a kit to collect your stool sample at home and send it to the laboratory for testing. Some of the advantages of a stool test include:

  • Unlike colonoscopy, this test is not invasive, and patients do not require bowel preparation and sedation.
  • No dietary changes or medication adjustments are necessary before the test.

On the downside:

  • A stool test may give false-positive results suggesting an abnormality when none is present.
  • The test is not as effective as colonoscopy at detecting polyps.
  • Patients with positive results may require additional tests.

Virtual colonoscopy

Virtual colonoscopy or computed tomographic colonography involves using a CT scanner to produce images of your abdominal organs to help your doctor detect polyps and other abnormalities. Bowel cleansing is necessary, just like a colonoscopy before the procedure.  However, your doctor may recommend a standard colonoscopy if there is the presence of abnormal growths in the colon lining.  Advantages of a virtual colonoscopy include:

  • Virtual colonoscopy does not require the insertion of a colonoscope in your body.
  • Patients do not require sedation before the procedure.

The downsides are that the procedure may not show small polyps, and most patients have reported cramping and bloating after the test.

Colon cancer screening is the first step in treating colon cancer. By catching early cancer symptoms, you will be able to save money and live a better life.  If you have further questions or need screening, book an appointment with your doctor at GI Physicians Inc. today.