Colon cancer screening is an essential component of your healthcare. Screening can help prevent colon cancer or detect it early when treatment is most effective. Certain factors, such as family history, can determine if it is time for you to begin regular colon cancer screenings. The team of experts at Piedmont Colorectal specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases that affect the colon and rectum. Learn more about cancer screening below.
What Is Colorectal Cancer Screening?
A colorectal screening refers to a test used to identify signs of disease in patients who do not exhibit symptoms. Because colorectal cancer mostly develops from precancerous abnormal growths in the colon, cancer screening can locate these growths so that doctors can remove them before they develop into cancer. If your Piedmont Colorectal specialist has recommended a cancer screening, you may be presented with several test options.
When Should I Get Screened?
Individuals between the ages of 47 and 75 should get tested for colorectal cancer regularly. However, certain factors can put you at increased risk of developing colorectal cancer, such as:
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBS), like ulcerative colitis
- A family history of colorectal cancer or polyps
- Certain genetic conditions, such as Lynch syndrome
If this is the case, you may need to begin colorectal testing earlier or more frequently.
Preparing For a Screening
There are several types of colorectal screening tests, and your preparation will depend on the type of test that will be administered. Generally, you may need to adhere to the following instructions as you prepare for your upcoming screening:
- Fasting for a predetermined period leading up to the test
- Stopping or adjusting the dosage of certain medications
- Consuming a laxative solution to empty the colon
Types of Screening Tests
Colonoscopy: A colonoscopy involves the insertion of a long tube into the rectum. The tip of the tube contains a small camera that allows doctors to find any abnormalities inside the colon. Patients should expect the procedure to last about 30 to 60 minutes.
Stool DNA screening: Stool DNA testing requires individuals to collect a sample of their stool at home to send to a lab, which tests the sample for changes in DNA. Patients should repeat this type of screening every three years.
Fecal immunochemical test (FIT): FIT tests detect blood that may be present in stool samples. Patients can collect the stool samples at home and emptying the color may not be necessary. This test is typically repeated every year.
Prioritize Your Colorectal Health
The idea of colorectal cancer screening can be daunting for many patients, but these tests can be potentially lifesaving. To schedule an appointment with one of our doctors to understand more about cancer screening, contact our office or request an appointment online.