Colorectal cancer screening is vital for the early detection and prevention of colorectal cancer. More than 140,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with colorectal cancer each year, and more than 50,000 people die from the disease.
There are several different types of colorectal cancer screening tests, and the best test for you depends on your age, health history, and personal preferences. The three most common types of colorectal cancer screenings are colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, and stool tests.
Colonoscopy is the most common and most effective type of colorectal cancer screening. During a colonoscopy, a long, thin tube with a light and camera is inserted through the rectum and into the colon. The doctor can then view the inside of the colon and remove any polyps that are found.
Sigmoidoscopy is similar to a colonoscopy, but only a shorter, less invasive tube is used. This type of colorectal cancer screening is less effective than a colonoscopy, but it is still a good option for people who are unable to have a colonoscopy.
Stool tests are used to detect blood in the stool, which can be an early sign of colorectal cancer. There are several different types of stool tests, and the most common is the fecal occult blood test (FOBT). The FOBT is a simple test that can be done at home, and it only requires a small sample of stool.
Who should be screened for colorectal cancer? All adults over the age of 50 should be screened for colorectal cancer. People with a family history of colorectal cancer or other risk factors may need to be screened earlier or more often. When should I be screened for colorectal cancer? The American Cancer Society recommends that people at average risk for colorectal cancer begin screening at age 50. People with certain risk factors may need to be screened earlier or more often. How often should I be screened for colorectal cancer? The frequency of colorectal cancer screening depends on the type of test used. Colonoscopy is the most common and most effective type of colorectal cancer screening, and it is typically done every 10 years. Sigmoidoscopy is less invasive and is typically done every 5 years. Stool tests can be done every year.
What are the risks of colorectal cancer screening? There are some risks associated with colorectal cancer screening, but they are generally very small. The most common risks are bleeding and perforation of the colon. These risks are usually minor and can be treated easily.
What are the benefits of colorectal cancer screening? The benefits of colorectal cancer screening far outweigh the risks. Colorectal cancer screening can detect cancer at an early stage, when it is most treatable. Early detection can also prevent colorectal cancer by finding and removing polyps before they turn into cancer.