Colon Cancer Screening

For you and for your loved ones–here is the scoop on screening.
Screening Is For Everyone

From: Susan Cohen Colon Cancer Foundation

Almost all of the information you will read and the commercials you will see urge everyone to be screened at 50 years of age. For African Americans screening is recommended at age 45. Perhaps, even a few years earlier if you have a history of colon cancer in your family. There are even individuals and organizations that are lobbying to lower the standard age for which screening is recommended. The fact of the matter is ,this year approximately 13,000 young men and women will be diagnosed with colon cancer. That represents almost 10% of all new cases in the United States alone. We will not try to explain all of the economic, insurance, political, medical, or personal reasons why this is the case.

Does it matter what the statistics indicate if you, your spouse, your child, or someone you love or care about is diagnosed with colon cancer?

At any age:

If you experience any stomach discomfort, bleeding in your stool, or sudden weight loss, please contact your physician today.
People should talk to their doctor about starting colorectal cancer screening earlier and/or being screened more often if they have any of the following colorectal cancer risk factors:

a personal history of colorectal cancer or adenomatous polyps
a personal history of chronic inflammatory bowel disease (Crohns disease or ulcerative colitis)
a strong family history of colorectal cancer or polyps (cancer or polyps in a first-degree relative [parent, sibling, or child] younger than 60 or in 2 or more first-degree relatives of any age)
a known family history of hereditary colorectal cancer syndromes such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer (HNPCC)

If you are not confident that your doctor is providing you with the correct information, or is not investigating the possibility of colon cancer immediately get a second opinion DEMAND THE PROPER DIAGNOSIS AND CARE. It?s you and your loved one?s lives at stake!
Colon and Rectal Cancer Screening

Beginning at age 50 (age 45 for African Americans), both men and women at average risk for developing colorectal cancer should use one of the screening tests below. The tests that are designed to find both early cancer and polyps are preferred if these tests are available to you and you are willing to have one of these more invasive tests. Of these the screening colonoscopy is the preferred test. Talk to your doctor about which test is best for you.
Tests that find polyps and cancer

flexible sigmoidoscopy every 5 years*
colonoscopy every 10 years
double contrast barium enema every 5 years*
CT colonography (virtual colonoscopy) every 5 years*

Tests that mainly find cancer

guaiac-based fecal occult blood test (gFOBT) every year*,**
fecal immunochemical test (FIT) every year*,**
stool DNA test (sDNA), interval uncertain*

*Colonoscopy should be done if test results are positive.
**For both gFOBT and FIT based screening, the take-home method should be used and the manufacturer?s specimen collection instructions should be followed. A gFOBT or FIT done during a digital rectal exam in the doctor’s office is not adequate for screening.

If you can not afford a colonoscopy (the gold standard for screening) or a barium enema combined with a sigmoidoscopy (almost as effective) or it is not available where you live contact us for information on how we can help.
Tests that examine the rectum, rectal tissue, and blood are used to detect (find) and diagnose colon cancer.

The following tests and procedures may be used:

Physical exam and history: An exam of the body to check general signs of health, including checking for signs of disease, such as lumps or anything else that seems unusual. A history of the patient?s health habits and past illnesses and treatments will also be taken.
Fecal occult blood test: A test to check stool (solid waste) for blood that can only be seen with a microscope. Small samples of stool are placed on special cards and returned to the doctor or laboratory for testing.
Digital rectal exam: An exam of the rectum. The doctor or nurse inserts a lubricated, gloved finger into the rectum to feel for lumps or abnormal areas.
Barium enema: A series of x-rays of the lower gastrointestinal tract. A liquid that contains barium (a silver-white metallic compound) is put into the rectum. The barium coats the lower gastrointestinal tract and x-rays are taken. This procedure is also called a lower GI series.

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