What You Need To Know About Colorectal Cancer Screening

What You Need To Know About Colorectal Cancer ScreeningAccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the US, affecting both men and women. However, screening tests can help prevent colorectal cancer by finding and removing any precancerous abnormal growths called polyps early, when treatment is the most effective. Screening can also detect if cancer is present in the colon, and early detection is key to successful treatment. The board- certified surgical oncologists of Premier Surgical Associates recommend that you follow established guidelines for the screening and early detection of colon cancer.

Beginning at the age of 50, men and women should begin regular colorectal screenings to detect any health concerns in the colon such as polyps or cancer. If symptoms are present at an earlier age or there is a specific concerns related to personal or family history, your physician may recommend screening before you reach the age of 50. Generally speaking, here is the American Cancer Society’s recommended testing schedule for good colon health:

  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy every 5 years, or
  • Colonoscopy every 10 years, or
  • Double-contrast barium enema every 5 years, or
  • CT colography (virtual colonoscopy) every 5 years

These screenings are designed to detect early cancer, polyps, and other conditions of the colon. If abnormal results are found further diagnostic testing  may be administered.

Flexible sigmoidoscopy

During this test, the doctor looks at the lower part of the colon and rectum with a sigmoidoscope, which is a flexible, lighted tube about the thickness of a finger with a small video camera on the end. It is inserted through the rectum and into the lower part of the colon. Images from the scope are viewed on a display monitor.

With a clear view of the rectum and part of the colon, the doctor is able to detect any abnormality. If your doctor does detect any polyps, they may be removed while the scope is in place. Because the sigmoidoscope is only 60 centimeters (about 2 feet) long, the doctor is able to see the entire rectum, but less than half of the colon with this procedure.

Colonoscopy

A colonoscopy allows a doctor to view the  inner lining of your entire large intestine (rectum and colon) with a thin, flexible, lighted tube with a small video camera on the end—essentially a longer version of a sigmoidoscope. While the scope is in place, the doctor is able to remove abnormal growths or biopsy suspicious looking areas if needed.

Premier Surgical Associates strives to work cooperatively with your entire care team to ensure the most effective treatment allowing you the best possible outcomes and quality of life. To learn more about the board certified physicians of Premier Surgical Associates visit www.premiersurgical.com.

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