If you are older than 50 or have one or more of several risk factors for colon cancer, then colon cancer screening is a vital part of protecting your overall well-being. At NY Gastroenterology & Digestive Disorders in Upper East Side, New York City, Stuart Finkel, MD, has decades of experience providing a variety of screening tests to help catch colon cancer at an early stage. To learn more, call the office or schedule an appointment online today.
Colon cancer screening is a set of tests that can help detect colon cancer before any symptoms present, in order to catch the deadly disease early. Depending on your specific situation, Dr. Finkel may conduct one or more tests to check your colon for abnormalities.
Once you turn 50, you need to start being screened for colon and rectal cancer every few years; Dr. Finkel can tell you exactly how often during your initial visit.
If you have certain risk factors, it may mean getting tested earlier in life or more often, such as if you have:
These factors can make you more likely to get colon cancer, so staying on top of your screening is crucial.
Based on your exact situation, there are several tests Dr. Finkel may use to check the health of your colon. The main options include:
One of the most common tests is a colonoscopy where Dr. Finkel examines your colon with a small camera on the end of a slim, flexible tube inserted in your rectum.
Colonoscopies provide a good view of any polyps and are only limited by how thoroughly your colon is cleared before the procedure. This can mean forgoing food the day before your test in order to clear your digestive system.
Other downsides include the necessary time to recover from the mild sedative often used in the procedure and the slight discomfort involved. Still, a colonoscopy is a quick, safe procedure that Dr. Finkel usually recommends you get about every 10 years beginning at age 50 to screen for colon cancer.
Dr. Finkel may recommend a sigmoidoscopy if he only needs to see the bottom third of your colon. Similar to a colonoscopy but with a shorter tube, a sigmoidoscopy uses a camera to inspect your colon for polyps or abnormalities. While the shorter scope limits how much Dr. Finkel can inspect, you generally don’t need sedation for this technique and won’t need to follow such a strict plan for clearing your bowels before the test.
This is similar to a colonoscopy but is done with X-rays and computer imaging to get a more complete picture of your colon. Dr. Finkel can let you know if this is a good option for you, as this test generally doesn’t provide as clear a picture as a traditional colonoscopy and therefore is not always a solution for everyone.
Several stool tests can be done to test for the presence of abnormalities like altered DNA or blood and can be done as the first line of defense for screening.
If you’re overdue for a colon cancer screening, call the office or schedule an appointment online today.