Colon Cancer Screening


What is this procedure?

A colon cancer screening is one or more tests conducted by your gastroenterologist, the purpose of which is to either diagnose or rule out colon or colorectal cancer. There are several tests used in colon cancer screening. A fecal occult blood test (tests the stool for minute traces of blood) is simple and inexpensive, however, it only detects polyps or cancer which are bleeding at the time of test. A flexible sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy are the two most effective means of colon cancer screening because they allow the inner lining of the colon and rectum to be inspected, as well as the removal of any polyps discovered.


Why would one need this type of procedure?

It is generally recommended that regular screenings begin at age 40, at least to test blood. If you have a history of colon cancer in your family, have had polyps previously removed, or have a sibling or relative who is close in age that was recently diagnosed, screening may be recommended more often. Please consult your gastroenterologist for recommendations.


Is this type of procedure safe? What are the risks?


Colon cancer screening tests are safe and effective.


How can this procedure help me?

Colon cancer is often called a “silent” disease, because it often presents no symptoms until the later stages, at which point cure is much more difficult. When discovered in the early stages, prior to symptoms developing, cure chances are 80% or better. After symptoms develop, this percentage drops to 50% or less. It is for this reason that regular colon cancer screenings are recommended. Please give us a call if you have any questions.