According to the American Cancer Society, colon cancer screening is a very vital test that most adults should consider. Currently, the guidelines state that anyone over the age of 50 should be receiving regular colon cancer screenings. For those that have a family history of colorectal cancer, it may be important to be screened much sooner and on a more frequent basis. The new guidelines issued by the ACS also recommend getting a colonoscopy every ten years and a double barium enema every five years.
As the American population continues to age, cancer is becoming an increasing threat for many. Colon cancer is one of the most deadly cancers, but thankfully, it can be treated if it is discovered in its early stages. Studies have shown that early detection is paramount for successful treatment. That means that it has never been more important to schedule a regular colon cancer screening.
A colon cancer screening usually involves the following procedures:
Fecal Occult Blood Test
– The presence of occult blood in a stool may be cause for concern. Those that have experienced dark red blood in their stools need to seek a colon cancer screening as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, many patients do not see this occult blood, making regular screenings vital.
Digital Rectal Exam
– The process of colon cancer screening will usually include a digital rectal exam. Patients should not be overly concerned about this procedure. By relaxing and thinking positive thoughts, there is little pain involved and the process is actually quite quick.
– In this screening test, a very small and flexible tube is inserted into the colon through the rectum. A very small digital camera is attached so that the doctor can spot any polyps or areas that need further examination. Once again, this procedure is a bit uncomfortable, but not painful.
Double Contrast Barium Enema
– This test involves receiving an enema that contains double contrast barium. This will highlight any problem areas on an X-Ray and assist the screener in determining whether or not there is a problem.
– This is quite similar to the flexible sigmoidoscopy mentioned above. However, the patient is usually lightly sedated for this procedure to make them more comfortable.
These tests are a vital part of good colon health and are considered necessary. The screening process goes quickly and is normally conducted on an in-patient basis.