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Colon Cancer is Preventable.

Colon cancer can often be caught early enough to be removed as a precancerous polyp with proper, regular screening.

Get Scoped!

          As colorectal cancer can be prevented with regular screening and removal of precancerous polyps, it is important to get screened. Many colon cancer deaths have occurred due to people putting off a colonoscopy for a multitude of reasons, whether it be due to a busy schedule or a stigma of not wanting a scope up their butt. Regardless of the reason, they are filled with regret that they didn't get that scope and because of that, they must seek cancer treatment. It is crucial that you get screened as soon as you are able, in order to avoid the troubling world of colorectal cancer.

         There is no doubt in the gastroenterologic world that the traditional colonoscopy is the pinnacle of colon cancer screening methods. With a proper cleaning, the gastroenterologist is able to see everything clearly and even remove colon polyps. But, with recent technological development, there are now other screening methods to facilitate early cancer detection. Listed below are three predominant forms of colorectal cancer screening.

Stool tests

There are three types of stool tests that are available for patients:

  • Guaiac-based Fecal Occult Blood Test (gFOBT): An at home method to test whether there is presence of blood in stool using chemical guaiac. Using a stick or brush, you obtain a small sample of stool and return the kit to your healthcare provider or lab where the stool is then tested for blood.

  • Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT): Similar to the gFOBT, the FIT is another at home test method in order to perform a stool test. It uses antibodies to detect blood in the stool and done through a test kit from a health care provider.

  • FIT-DNA Test (Stool DNA Test): This test is a combination of the FIT and test to detect alterations in DNA present in stools. For this process, an entire bowel movement is collected and sent to a lab for it to be checked for the presence of cancer cells.

An example of a common stool test would be Cologuard.


Flexible Sigmoidoscopy (Flex Sig)

A Flexible Sigmoidoscopy is a procedure in which a sigmoidoscope is used to inspect the rectum and lower-third of the colon for polyps or cancer. A sigmoidoscope is a short, thin, flexible tool that is inserted into the rectum and may also include a tool that can be used to remove polyps.


Virtual Colonoscopy (CT Colonography)

A Virtual Colonoscopy is a procedure in which x-ray images are collected using computed tomography in order to make a series pictures of the entire colon. It allows the series of images to be displayed on a computer screen to be analyzed by the healthcare provider in order to detect abnormalities or polyps.

When Should I Get Scoped?

Everyone should be scoped at least every 10 years beginning at the age of 45. However, the Center for Disease Control recommends those with the following conditions to be scoped before 45 or at closer intervals:

  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease

  • Ulcerative colitis

  • Crohn's Disease

  • Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP)

  • Lynch syndrome

  • Family history of colorectal cancer

There are certain genetic, age, and lifestyle factors that put some people more at risk of developing colon cancer than others. If you fall into one of these categories, you should be especially careful of your risk of developing colon cancer and be sure to seek regular screening:

  • Lack of regular exercise

  • Alcohol consumption

  • Tobacco usage

  • Obesity

  • Low-fiber diet

  • Older age

  • African-American ethnicity

Where Can I get Scoped?

You can get screened for colon cancer at a local gastroenterologist's office. Ask your primary care physician for a  referral to a gastroenterologist or see a list of top gastroenterologists here. Make sure you find a gastroenterologist that is covered by your insurance so you are covered financially.

Learn the Facts about Colon Cancer

What are the symptoms of Colorectal Cancer?

Colon cancer can be accompanied by zero symptoms, and generally doesn't show symptoms until the disease progresses, which is why it is so important to get screened regularly. However, if you are experiencing the following symptoms, it's time to get scoped.

  • Changes in bowel movements.

  • Presence of blood in the stool.

  • Diarrhea, constipation, and bowel inconsistency.

  • Abdominal pain or cramps.

  • Sudden weight loss.

  • Anemia

Important statistics about Colorectal Cancer:

  • Colorectal Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States.

  • In the United States, 18,000 people under the age of 50 will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer.

  • If current trends amongst the younger population continue, cases of colorectal cancer in people under 50 are expected to nearly double by 2030.

  • Liver metastasis occur in 20% to 70% of patients and lung metastasis in 10% to 20% upon diagnosis of colorectal cancer.

  • The risk of being diagnosed with colorectal cancer for men is 1 in 24. The risk of being diagnosed with colorectal cancer for women is 1 in 25.

  • In people above 50 years of age, 90% of new cases occur.

  • 60% of colorectal cancer deaths could have been prevented with appropriate screening.

  • The average individual risk for developing colorectal cancer is 1 in 20, however, this can vary depending on risk factors and family history.

How Can I Pay for Screening?

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires that both public and private insurers alike cover the cost of colorectal cancer screening. If you are past the age of 45, and your insurance plan was activated after 2010 (when the ACA was passed), colorectal cancer screening should be covered by your insurance. If you are under the age of 45, and your insurance does not cover screening for colorectal cancer, they may still cover "diagnostic colonoscopies", which are colonoscopies prescribed by your doctor if you are experiencing possible symptoms of colorectal cancer.

If this is not the case, and your insurance does not cover the costs associated with colorectal cancer screening, or you are uninsured, there are often programs available to assist in the cost of colon cancer screening. Listed below are some of these programs.

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