Rectum and colon cancer comes in second as the leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. According to the National Cancer Institute, there were 40.1 new cases reported per 100,000 adults annually between 2010 and 2014. Over 135,000 new cases and 50,260 deaths are estimated for 2017. This is a serious condition that affects many people. The best way to prevent the disease from advancing is to get tested.
What Happens During a Colorectal Screening?
You should tell your gastroenterologist about any medications you take prior to the screening. They may ask you to make changes to your routine and will provide a special diet and medication. These directions must be followed to help clean out the colon.
When undergoing a colonoscopy, you will lie on a table on your side with knees pulled up toward the chest. Most patients are sedated and have no memory of the diagnostic test. Air is pumped into the colon to allow for a better view.
If your gastroenterologist finds a polyp, he or she will remove it during the screening. A biopsy will be sent to a lab to verify whether it is a pre-cancerous polyp or if colorectal cancer is present. If either is identified, you will be advised on the next steps by your doctor.
Is a Home Colon Cancer Test Enough?
Colon cancer home test kits are available, but they are not the most effective solution for most. Your doctor can provide a more in-depth examination. They can also discuss any symptoms or concerns you have and provide advice. This also gives them more information when making decisions about diagnosis and treatment.
If a home test comes back positive, you will still have to talk to your gastroenterologist to request a colonoscopy. Contact a gastroenterologist if you have questions or need to schedule a colorectal screening.
For most people without any risk factors, colon cancer screening should begin at age 50.