There are many different tests that screen for colon cancer. Each test can be used alone.Stool Tests
- Polyps in the colon and small cancers can cause small amounts of bleeding that cannot be seen with the naked eye. But blood can often be found in the stool.
- This method checks your stool for blood.
- The most common test used is the fecal occult blood test (FOBT). Two other tests are called the fecal immunochemical test (FIT) and stool DNA test (sDNA).
- This test uses a small flexible scope to view the lower part of your colon. Because the test only looks at the last one third of the large intestine (colon), it may miss some cancers that are higher in the large intestine.
- Sigmoidoscopy and a stool test may be used together.
- How often: Every 5 years, or every 10 years with a FIT every year.
- A colonoscopy is similar to a sigmoidoscopy, but the entire colon can be viewed
- Your health care provider will give you the steps for cleansing your bowel. This is called bowel preparation.
- During a colonoscopy, you receive medicine to make you relaxed and sleepy.
- Sometimes, CT scans are used as an alternative to a regular colonoscopy. This is called a virtual colonoscopy.
- How often: Every 10 years.
There is no single “best test” for any person. Each test has advantages and disadvantages. Talk to your doctor about the pros and cons of each test, and how often to be tested. Which test to use depends on—
- Your preferences.
- Your medical condition.
- The likelihood that you will get the test.
- The resources available for testing and follow-up.
Your test may vary depending on the level of your risk. Consult our experts to discuss your Colon Screening procedure!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the first sign of colon cancer?
Change in bowel habits. Constipation, diarrhea, and bowel incontinence, although usually symptoms of other, less serious, problems, can also be a sign of colorectal cancer. Blood on or in the stool. By far the most alarming of all the symptoms, blood on or in the stool can be a symptom of colorectal cancer.
Who should be screened for colon cancer?
All men and women ages 50 and older should talk to their doctor about being tested. Regular testing increases the chance of stopping colon cancer before it starts or finding it early when treatment may be most effective. If you or someone in your family has had colon cancer or certain other conditions, you may need to start testing earlier than age 50. Talk to your doctor about when you should start getting tested.
Does a positive FOBT test mean cancer?
A positive FOBT result does not necessarily mean you have cancer. FOBTs do not detect cancer. A FOBT can detect small amounts of blood in the faeces or bowel motion, which may be a sign that there is a cancer or pre-cancerous growth present. A positive FOBT usually means a 5% chance of cancer, which is why follow-up investigation is essential.
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