Colon Cancer Screening: Understanding Colonoscopies and Other Methods

Colon cancer can be deadly. In fact, it’s the third leading cause of cancer deaths, according to the American Cancer Society. Fortunately, colon cancer screening, available from your gastroenterologist, can detect colon cancer early, when it is easier to treat.

What You Need To Know About Colonoscopies and Other Types of Colon Cancer Screenings

Colon cancer screening should happen by the time you are 45 years old. You may need a colon cancer screening earlier, if you are experiencing:

  • Chronic abdominal pain
  • Frequent diarrhea or constipation
  • Blood in your stool
  • Rectal bleeding

Having a colonoscopy is the most common type of colon cancer screening. It’s a procedure involving a colonoscope, which is a thin, flexible tube with a camera attached to one end. The colonoscope is inserted into the rectum and guided up into the colon. Your gastroenterologist can view your colon to check for polyps and abnormal tissue. A tissue sample can be taken and submitted for a biopsy to determine if cancerous cells are present. You will be sedated for a colonoscopy.

A sigmoidoscopy is modified colonoscopy during which only the sigmoid, or lower colon, is examined. The procedure is the same as with a colonoscopy, and you will need to be sedated for the procedure.

There is also a virtual colonoscopy, involving a capsule with camera. You swallow the capsule, and the camera relays images to a device which you wear. You will excrete the capsule naturally in a few days. You don’t need to be sedated for a virtual colonoscopy.

Stool testing is another common type of colon cancer screening in which a small sample of your stool is tested for blood and other abnormalities. You can either gather the sample at home and send it to a laboratory or go to the laboratory and submit the sample. This method also doesn’t require sedation.

Want To Know More About Colonoscopies and Other Colon Cancer Screening Methods?

To learn more about colonoscopies and other types of colon cancer screenings, talk with an expert. Call your gastroenterologist today.

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