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Colon Cancer Screening

Colon Cancer Screening – An effective way to save lives

  • While it is difficult to detect cancers before they start sending out the warning signs and by when it is often too late for the patients, it is not entirely impossible. This is equally true for colon cancer, which is the most common type of cancer in men.
  • Colon cancer is mostly caused by the development of precancerous polyps or abnormal growths within the colon or rectum and is not too easy to detect. However, with proper and regular colon cancer screening doctors can not only detect the cancer but also cure it completely.

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Colon Cancer Screening Options

  • There are various screening tests that are used by doctors for early detection of colon cancer and its proper treatment. These include the following:
    • Stool DNA Test: This is a non-invasive test that is based on the detection of specific gene changes commonly associated with colon cancer cells. The test does not require the patients to take any special diet or undergo special bowel preparation which makes it extremely convenient. However, this screening method is suitable only for people with low to average risk of developing colon cancer.
    • Colonoscopy: This is another common method of colon cancer screening that is generally advised to patients having a high risk of developing colon cancer. It involves the insertion of a small camera fixed to one end of a flexible lighted tube into the body for extensive scanning of the colon, rectum and even the large intestine. The camera is used for detecting the presence of polyps. In case any such growth is detected, they might be removed during the test itself.
    • Sigmiodoccopy:  This is similar to colonoscopy in every respect except that the focus area is only the colon and the rectum. In case any suspicious growths are detected, the patients might be advised to undergo a colonoscopy for removing the same.
    • CT Colonography: In the CT Colonography method of screening, the colon and rectum of the patient are scanned to generate a cross-section of images, which the doctor can then use to detect polyps. In case, any abnormal growths are detected, the patients are advised to do a follow-up colonoscopy.
    • Double Contrast Barium- Enema:  This is a X-ray type screening method and is performed by inserting liquid barium into the rectum, which them spreads into the colon. This barium is then made to spread into thin, smooth layers inside the organs by pumping air, before X-rays are taken. The X-rays are then used to gain information about the presence or absence of Polyps and in the former case a colonoscopy is suggested.

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