About Colorectal Cancer
The following screening tests are recommended by the US Preventive Task Force
-Fecal Occult blood test (FOBT)
- Sometimes precancerous and cancer bleed and that can only be detected through a microscope.
- Small samples of stool are placed on a special card and returned to the doctor or laboratory to see if blood is present.
- Fecal immunochemical test, uses antibodies to detect blook in the stool
How often? Every Year.
- This is a procedure that allows your doctor to directly look inside your rectum and sigmoid. Sigmoid colon is the lower part of your colon.
- Your doctor will use a sigmoidoscope, which is a thin-tube like instrument with a light and lens at the end for direct visualization. If there are abnormal growths, polyps or findings, your doctor may also remove or take tissue samples to send to the laboratory to check for presence of cancer.
How often? Every five years.
- This is a procedure that allows your doctor to directly look inside your rectum and your colon
- Your doctor will use a colonoscope, which is a thin,-tube like instrument with a light and lens at the end for direct visualization. It has a tool to remove abnormal growths, polyps and get tissue samples that will be sent to the laboratory to test for signs of cancer.
How often? Every 10 years.
Other screenings tests available now or are being studied
-Double-Contrast Barium Enema
- The double-contrast barium enema is also called an air-contrast barium enema or a barium enema with air contrast. It is basically a type of x-ray test. Barium sulfate, which is a chalky liquid and air are used to outline the inner part of the colon and rectum to look for abnormal areas on x-rays.
- It is a procedure that uses a series of x-rays called computed tomography (CT scans) to make a series of pictures of your colon. Pictures with detailed images of the colon may show polyps or anything else that seems unusual on the inside surface of the colon.
-DNA Stool Test
- This test checks DNA in stool cells for any genetic changes that may be a sign of colorectal cancer.
Partner with your doctor to as the following questions about screening:
Which test do you think is best for me and why?
Is it covered by my health insurance plan? If not, what are my options?
Are the tests painful?
How soon after the tests will I learn the results?