Our Gastroenterology Blog

Posts for tag: Colon Cancer Screening

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.

There are plenty of good reasons to get a colonoscopy. But what happens when your partner is reluctant to get his or hers? Here are some strategies—from silly to serious—to help you persuade your loved one that a colonoscopy is important and necessary.

  1. Remind Him that Colon Cancer is the Only Preventable Cancer. Each year nearly 137,000 people are diagnosed with colorectal cancer in the U.S. and over 50,000 people die from it annually. A simple colonoscopy, however, can detect precancerous polyps and stop threats before they start. Tell him not to risk getting cancer just because a colonoscopy sounds daunting.  

  2. Tell Her It’s Worth It. No one is going to sugarcoat it: Colonoscopies, especially the preparation for them, isn’t’ anyone’s idea of fun. But it’s worth it. Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death. One rough day could make the difference between detecting colon cancer early or finding it too late. 

  3. Two Words: Peer Pressure. Two-thirds of those who should be getting colonoscopies are getting colonoscopies. You and your peers are in the same situation. Be a leader and don’t be afraid to get a colonoscopy.  

  4. Bribes. What’s her favorite food? Tell her it will be waiting for her after her colonoscopy. Does he really want to go watch the game with friends that evening you had theater tickets? Tell him you’ll take someone else if he gets that colonoscopy. A new item of clothing, a free pass from taking out the garbage? Whatever it takes, it’s worth it. 

  5. Highlight All the Reasons To Not Get Colorectal Cancer. Have a big trip coming up? Don’t let colorectal cancer ruin it. Have grandkids? Hoping to have grandkids? Give yourself as long as possible to enjoy your life. You don’t know what the future holds. But there’s no reason it should hold colorectal cancer. 

Resources

4 Questions to Ask Before You Get a Colonoscopy

Colonoscopy: Frequently Asked Questions

Colon Cancer Screening: Six Questions That Could Save Your Life

In honor of March being Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, we are sharing the key risk factors for colon cancer. Colon cancer is sometimes called “the silent killer” because symptoms often don’t present themselves until later stages. That’s why it’s so important to get regular screenings after the age of 50—even if you have no other risk factors.

Colorectal cancer refers to cancer of the colon or rectum. The exact cause is not yet known, but the following risk factors may increase the chance that a person will develop this disease:

  • Age. The chances of developing colorectal cancer increase after age 50. In fact, more than 90% of people diagnosed with colorectal cancer are at least 50 years old.
  • Family history. Having close relatives (parents, siblings or children) who have been diagnosed with colorectal cancer increases your likelihood of having it. If you are at a higher risk, your physician may recommend screenings for you before the age of 50.
  • Personal history of colorectal polyps or colorectal cancer. A polyp is a growth that develops on the inner lining of the colon or rectum. Some polyps may become cancerous. If you’ve been diagnosed with colorectal cancer in the past, the disease may reoccur.
  • Personal history of inflammatory bowel disease. Other risk factors include eating diets high in fat and red meat, lack of exercise, smoking, and bowel disorders such as Crohn’s disease. Although some risk factors, such as age and family history, cannot be avoided, other factors are within your control.

Of course, the biggest risk anyone can take when it comes to colorectal cancer is not getting screened. Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the U.S., but it has a 90% survival rate when caught early enough. Talk to your doctor about scheduling an appointment today.

Visit our Colon Cancer Screening and Colonoscopy pages to learn more.