Which Colon Cancer Screening is Right for You?
By GI Associates
March 20, 2018
Category: blog


Know your options 

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Getting screened is essential to the detection and prevention of colon cancer.

Choosing what’s best for you. 

Colonoscopy is the most common and effective colorectal cancer screening option because it is the only test that both detects and prevents colorectal cancer.

During a colonoscopy, your doctor examines the lining along the entire length of your large intestine. If your doctor sees abnormal growths of tissue called polyps, tiny instruments are inserted through the colonoscope to remove them. The tissue samples are sent to a pathologist to evaluate whether they are benign, precancerous or malignant. Screening colonoscopy is recommended every 10 years between 50 and 75 years of age. It may be more frequently based on your findings and risk factors.

Good for:

  • Patients with average to high risk of colon cancer
  • Preventing colon cancer

Stool DNA test

Another option you can discuss with your doctor is a stool DNA test such as Cologuard.

The stool DNA test looks for abnormal DNA associated with colon cancer or colon polyps and detects hidden blood in the stool, which can indicate the presence of cancer. If a stool DNA test is positive a colonoscopy is usually recommended.  The stool DNA test is recommended for average risk patients with no symptoms and is usually recommended every 3-5 years.

Good for:

  • Patients at average risk with no symptoms, conditions, personal or family history of colon cancer
  • Patients who cannot tolerate colonoscopy prep or procedure

Not recommended for:

  • Patients at higher risk with a personal history of colon polyps or cancer
  • Patients with underlying conditions and/or symptoms including:
    • inflammatory bowel conditions
    • diarrhea
    • blood in their urine or stool
    • bleeding hemorrhoids
    • rectal bleeding, or are menstruating.

If a stool DNA test is positive a colonoscopy is usually recommended to identify the source.  It is important to note that colonoscopy performed due to a positive stool DNA test is classified as a diagnostic service by most payers, so out of pocket costs may apply.

But wait, there’s more . . .

Other options include: Flexible sigmoidoscopy, double barium enema, and CT colonography. See our “Colon Cancer Screenings” blog to learn more about these.

The most important thing in the fight against colorectal cancer is screening. Early detection is crucial and potentially lifesaving. Fortunately, you have options. We encourage you to speak to your doctor about which screening is best for you.

If you have any concerns about coverage or payment for colon cancer screening services, our GI Associates Financial Counselor will work with you to help understand your benefits.  

Schedule your colon cancer screening today. Call 877-442-7762 or request an appointment online.