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Colon cancer screening
Alternative namesScreening for colon cancer
How do you screen for colon cancer ?
There are three ways to screen for colon cancer. The first is a stool test (to check for blood). Most medical authorities recommend this be done every 1 to 2 years.
The second method is a sigmoidoscopy exam (a test that uses a flexible small scope to look at the lower part of your colon), recommended every 5 years. Most health care providers recommend that the stool test and the sigmoidoscopy be used together.
The third method is a colonoscopy exam. A colonoscopy is similar to a sigmoidoscopy, but it allows the entire colon to be viewed. The patient usually is mildly sedated during a colonoscopy.
The American Cancer Society makes the following recommendations:
Beginning at age 50, both men and women should follow one of these five screening options:
There is insufficient evidence to determine which screening method is best. The colonoscopy is the most thorough, but it takes longer, requires sedation, is slightly riskier (rarely, the bowel can be perforated), and much more expensive than a sigmoidoscopy.
People with certain digestive diseases (such as ulcerative colitis) or a family history of colon cancer may need earlier and more frequent testing. See stool screening for bowel cancer and stool guaiac test.
Update Date: 1/26/2004Sreeni Jonnalagadda, M.D., Interventional and Pancreatobiliary Endoscopy, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT