Colon Cancer Screening

digestive health associates support colon cancer screen

What is Colon Cancer Screening and What Purpose Does It Serve?

Colon cancer screening is a vital part of routine healthcare and a proactive approach to assessing your risk for and early detection of colon cancer. Generally, we recommend screening every 10 years beginning at age 45 if you don’t have pre-existing bowel symptoms. If you do, we may recommend screening every year or every other year. We offer many colon cancer screening tests including colonoscopy and flexible sigmoidoscopy. Our goal is to provide you with thorough testing and analysis to detect cancer or precancerous polyps and ensure you receive the best care and treatment options.

How Should I Prepare for the Screening and What Can I Expect?

Before a colon cancer screening, we’ll have you cleanse your colon to ensure we have a clear, unobscured view during the procedure. We may give you specific dietary instructions, laxatives, an enema kit, and/or temporary adjustments to your medication. Depending on the type of screening test you will have, your doctor may prescribe a sedative to ensure you are relaxed and comfortable.

When you arrive for your colon cancer screening test, we’ll have you change into a gown. You will lie on your side with your knees drawn to your chest. The doctor will guide a scope (tube) into your rectum and air will inflate the colon to provide the best view of the inner lining. This may give you abdominal cramps or make you feel the need to have a bowel movement. The scope will capture images of your intestine and colon lining and send them to a monitor. Then the doctor can review and analyze them. Should you need polyp removal or a biopsy, the doctor will take a small sample or remove the polyp(s).

The time it takes for a colon cancer screening will vary. After the exam, you may experience mild pelvic discomfort, feel bloated, have the urge to pass gas, or notice blood in your stool following the first bowel movement after the exam.

Following the exam, your doctor will talk with you to about your results and let you know whether you need additional exams or procedures.

Learn More: Colon Cancer Screening

American Cancer Society

Mayo Clinic

National Cancer Institute

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