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Colon cancer screening: Weighing the options

Colon cancer screening: Weighing the solutions

Colon cancer screening is an crucial component of schedule health treatment. If you might be not confident which colon cancer screening test is ideal for you, talk to you these queries.

By Mayo Clinic Staff members

If your health practitioner has suggested colon cancer screening, you may possibly be in a position to opt for from various colon cancer screening exams.

If you might be unwilling to make a determination, bear in mind that any discomfort or humiliation from colon cancer screening is temporary — and detecting problems early could preserve your daily life.

Screening exams are employed only if you really don’t have bowel indicators. If you have signs and indicators — these kinds of as belly agony, a adjust in bowel habits, bleeding, constipation or diarrhea — then you will need other exams to handle these problems.

If you really don’t have bowel indicators, contemplate the next queries to assistance opt for the colon cancer screening test that’s ideal for you.

What preparation is associated?

Preparing for colon cancer screening can be awkward or inconvenient, but it truly is necessary for the test to be effective. As component of your determination, contemplate your willingness or capacity to comply with the preparation directions for specific colon cancer screening exams.

This may well — to various degrees — include steering clear of strong meals the day ahead of the exam, altering your medications, and consuming a laxative remedy or making use of enemas to vacant your colon.

How practical is the test?

In addition to test preparation, contemplate:

  • How extended the test will get
  • How normally you need to repeat the test
  • No matter if you will need sedation
  • How considerably comply with-up treatment you will need
  • The feasible need for comply with-up tests to examine a untrue-good acquiring or to eliminate tissue

What about charge and coverage challenges?

Uncover out how considerably each individual colon cancer screening test costs, as properly as which exams your coverage company handles. Consider whether you might be eager to pay out out of pocket if necessary.

What is your mindset towards screening exams?

The extra comprehensive the colon cancer screening test, the extra possible it is to detect any cancer or precancerous polyps. Conversely, a extra comprehensive test may possibly also necessarily mean extra-inconvenient or extra-awkward preparation, a a little increased danger of severe difficulties, or both equally.

Ask you:

  • Will you sense ideal if you know you have selected the most comprehensive screening test feasible?
  • Will you get worried or doubt the effects if you opt for a a lot less sensitive test?
  • How anxious are you about benefit, preparation or the probability of severe difficulties?

What is your doctor’s approach to screening exams?

Make confident that you might be cozy with the colon cancer screening test your health practitioner endorses. If your health practitioner specializes in a individual test, but you’d fairly have one more test, specific your needs. Your health practitioner may possibly provide a referral to a person properly trained in the test with which you sense most cozy.

What is your danger stage?

Your danger of colon cancer may possibly affect your decision of screening exams. If you have an greater danger of colon cancer, your health practitioner may possibly endorse extra-frequent colon cancer screening with colonoscopy.

Speak to your health practitioner about your colon cancer danger if you:

  • Have a particular historical past of colon cancer or precancerous polyps
  • Have a mum or dad, sibling or little one who has had colon cancer
  • Carry a gene for a hereditary colon cancer syndrome
  • Have a historical past of inflammatory bowel disease, these kinds of as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease

What are the professionals and cons of each individual test?

This is an overview of the most typical colon cancer screening exams.

Colonoscopy

For the duration of a colonoscopy exam, a extended, versatile tube (colonoscope) is inserted into the rectum. A tiny online video camera at the tip of the tube allows the health practitioner to detect variations or abnormalities inside the entire colon.

Colonoscopy takes about thirty to sixty minutes and screening is generally recurring each individual 10 years if no abnormalities are identified and you really don’t have an greater danger of colon cancer.

The professionals:

  • Colonoscopy is just one of the most sensitive exams now readily available for colon cancer screening.
  • The health practitioner can check out your entire colon and rectum.
  • Irregular tissue, these kinds of as polyps, and tissue samples (biopsies) can be taken off by way of the scope all through the exam.

The cons:

  • The exam may possibly not detect all smaller polyps and cancers.
  • A comprehensive cleaning of the colon is needed ahead of the test.
  • Eating plan variations are necessary ahead of the test, and medications may well need to be modified.
  • Sedation is just about always employed, and it can get quite a few hours to wear off.
  • Due to the fact of the sedation, you will need a person to generate you residence.
  • Scarce difficulties may well include bleeding from the internet site wherever a biopsy was taken or a polyp or other abnormal tissue was taken off, or bleeding from a tear in the colon or rectum wall.
  • Cramping or bloating may possibly come about afterward.

Stool DNA test

The stool DNA test utilizes a sample of your stool to search for DNA variations in cells that may possibly suggest the presence of colon cancer or precancerous circumstances. The stool DNA test also appears to be for signs of blood in your stool.

For this test, you acquire a stool sample at residence and ship it to a laboratory for tests. Stool DNA tests is typically recurring each individual three years.

The professionals:

  • The test will not require bowel preparation, sedation or insertion of a scope.
  • You can eat and drink generally, and get your regular medications, ahead of the test.
  • The stool can be gathered at residence, steering clear of disruption of function and day by day routines.

The cons:

  • The DNA stool test is a lot less sensitive than colonoscopy at detecting precancerous polyps.
  • If abnormalities are identified, more exams may possibly be necessary.
  • The exams can propose an abnormality when none is present (untrue-good result).

Fecal occult blood test or fecal immunochemical test

Fecal occult blood test (FOBT) and fecal immunochemical test (In shape) are lab exams employed to examine stool samples for hidden (occult) blood. The exams typically are recurring each year.

The professionals:

  • Stool sample assortment can be done at residence.
  • There is certainly no need to vacant the colon forward of time.
  • There is certainly no need for sedation.

The cons:

  • The exams fail to detect some polyps and cancers.
  • Selected meals and medications may possibly need to be averted for quite a few times ahead of the test.
  • If blood is detected, more exams may possibly be necessary to decide the supply.
  • The exams can propose an abnormality when none is present (untrue-good result).

Virtual colonoscopy (CT colonography)

For the duration of a virtual colonoscopy, a CT scan produces cross-sectional photos of the belly organs, enabling the health practitioner to detect variations or abnormalities in the colon and rectum. To assistance create obvious photos, a smaller tube (catheter) is positioned inside your rectum to fill your colon with air or carbon dioxide.

Virtual colonoscopy takes about 10 minutes and is generally recurring each individual five years.

The professionals:

  • In contrast to conventional colonoscopy, virtual colonoscopy will not require sedation or the insertion of a scope into the colon.

The cons:

  • Like standard colonoscopy, a comprehensive cleaning of the bowel is needed beforehand.
  • The exam may possibly not detect all smaller polyps and cancers.
  • Eating plan variations are necessary ahead of the test, and medications may well need to be modified.
  • Radiation exposure may well be a problem. Nevertheless, the stage of radiation employed all through a screening CT scan is decrease than the quantity employed in a diagnostic CT scan.
  • Due to the fact tissue samples can not be taken all through the exam, a comply with-up colonoscopy may possibly be necessary if an abnormality is detected.
  • Cramping or bloating may possibly come about afterward.
  • The test may well detect abnormalities in other belly organs and more exams may well be necessary to decide the induce.

What is the bottom line?

Deciding on a colon cancer screening test may well not be an effortless determination, but it truly is a likely lifesaving just one. Consult with your health practitioner about your colon cancer screening solutions.

Dedicate to a screening routine based on your particular danger factors. Remember, the earlier colon cancer is detected, the less complicated it is to address.

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