Whether you’ve been treated for colon disease or not in the past, you still need to test for colon cancer, even if you’re not experiencing any symptoms. One of the most important aspects of our non-invasive colon cancer screening in Lexington, SC, West Columbia, and Columbia, SC is offering colorectal cancer screening options that can catch polyps early before they can turn cancerous.
Just like many other organs in the body, the colon is also prone to diseases such as colon cancer, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and more. In this article, we will focus our attention on colon cancer, the importance of colon cancer screening, and how you can know if you’re a good candidate. Without further ado, let’s quickly cover the importance of colon cancer testing so that Lexington residents can stay on top of their health.
Who Is At High Risk of Colon Cancer?
A common misconception is that colon cancer affects only adults, although the risk of developing colon cancer increases with age.
The fact of the matter is this: colon cancer can affect anyone, but certain factors can increase a person’s risk for developing colon cancer. Hence, age is just one significant risk factor. As we grow older, the likelihood of developing colon cancer increases, especially for those over the age of 45.
Additionally, family history plays a vital role as well. If a close relative, such as a parent or sibling, has had colon cancer, the risk is higher. Inherited genetic conditions, such as Lynch syndrome or familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), can also predispose individuals to colon cancer.
Moreover, lifestyle choices matter too. Leading a sedentary lifestyle, and being overweight can contribute to colon cancer. Excessive alcohol consumption and tobacco use can also increase the likelihood of developing colon cancer. If you have a personal history of IBD, such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, you may also be at risk.
Therefore, understanding these risk factors empowers individuals to take proactive steps, such as regular screenings and adopting a healthy lifestyle, to reduce their risk of developing colon cancer and maintain overall well-being. It doesn’t matter if you’re male or female, young or old; we perform colon cancer screening for men and women in Lexington as part of our colon cancer care services.
Types and Frequency of Colon Cancer Screening Tests
There are several ways to check for colon cancer, but the choice of a screening test depends on various factors, including individual preferences, risk factors, and medical history.
We encourage you to discuss suitable colorectal screening options with us based on your personal circumstances. Several screening options are available, each with its own benefits and recommended frequency. At Consultants in Gastroenterology, we test for colon cancer by performing stool and structural tests.
1. Stool Tests for Colon Cancer
Stool tests for colon cancer offer a simple and non-invasive way to screen for the disease. During these types of screening tests for colon cancer, a small amount of stool as a sample is collected and sent to a lab for analysis. The lab examines the sample for the presence of blood or changes in DNA that may indicate the presence of cancer or precancerous polyps.
Stool tests are considered to be one of the most convenient screening tests for colon cancer, as they don’t require any special preparation or invasive procedures. In addition, they provide an opportunity to detect colon cancer early, when it’s most treatable, and can be repeated periodically according to the recommended guidelines.
2. Structural Tests
Structural tests make up one of the important screening exams for colon cancer that play a crucial role in early detection and diagnosis, aiding in timely treatment and improved patient outcomes. These tests focus on examining the structure and integrity of the colon, allowing us to identify abnormalities and potential signs of cancer.
A colonoscopy is the most commonly used structural test. It involves inserting a flexible tube with a camera into the rectum and advancing it through the entire colon. This allows doctors to visualize the lining of the colon, identify polyps, and take biopsies if necessary.
Virtual colonoscopy or CT colonography is another colorectal cancer screening option that employs advanced imaging techniques to create detailed 3D images of the colon, enabling the detection of polyps or tumors.
Additionally, flexible sigmoidoscopy is another type of screening exam for colon cancer that focuses on examining the lower portion of the colon. It involves inserting a thin, flexible tube with a camera through the rectum to inspect the rectum and sigmoid colon. This procedure aids in the detection of abnormalities in the lower part of the colon.
Other structural tests may include double-contrast barium enema, which uses a series of X-rays and a contrast material to outline the colon’s structure, or capsule endoscopy, where a small, swallowable capsule with a camera transmits images of the colon as it passes through the digestive system.
These structural tests and non-invasive colon cancer screening techniques are essential in detecting abnormalities, diagnosing cancer, and guiding colon cancer care treatment plans.
Signs of Colon Cancer To Watch For
Colon cancer screening is the recommended test for detecting the presence of colon cancer. However, you can check for the following signs and symptoms:
- Persistent change in bowel habits, such as diarrhea, constipation, or a combination of both.
- Blood in the stool or rectal bleeding, which may appear as bright red or dark-colored blood.
- Unexplained weight loss, fatigue, and weakness.
- Abdominal discomfort or pain, including cramps, bloating, or the feeling of incomplete bowel movements.
- Persistent feeling of fullness or a change in appetite.
If you experience any of these signs and symptoms, then you may be a candidate for colon cancer screening. Remember to ask your Lexington gastroenterologist questions about your health, and make sure to schedule an appointment for colon cancer testing in Lexington if you feel any of these symptoms.
Reliable Colon Cancer Screening and Detection in Lexington, West Columbia, & Columbia, SC
At Consultants in Gastroenterology, we take the health of our patients seriously. That’s why we encourage you to ask us questions about our colon cancer screening in Lexington, SC, West Columbia, and Columbia, SC since early detection of colon cancer can significantly improve your chances of getting successful treatment.