Colon Cancer Screening


What are different tools available to screen for colon cancer?

Colonoscopy (see below)

FIT - stool test that only detects human blood from the large intestine (usually give by your primary care doctor)

Cologuard - stool test that detects DNA shed from cancerous and precancerous lesions in the intestines (also ususally given by your primary care doctor)

Virtual colonoscopy - CT scan that can detect polyps larger that 5mm but you still have to do the prep (still not covered on most insurances and has increased radiation exposure)

Flexible sigmoidoscopy - only looks at the left side of the colon

Why do I need a colonoscopy?

 A colonoscopy is not actually looking for colon cancer

A colonoscopy looks for polyps to remove before they turn into cancer

A colonoscopy is performed to prevent colon cancer

What is a colonoscopy?

  A colonoscopy is a procedure performed under anesthesia to directly visualize the colon (and sometimes the bottom of the small bowel), looking for polyps, inflammation, hemorrhoids and other problems. It usually takes 40 minutes.  

How do I prepare for a colonoscopy?

Clear liquids only the entire day before (NO SOLID FOOD)

At 5pm start the medicine that will clean you out

Expect mild cramping, urgency and diarrhea

Stool should look like water or urine

Nothing after midnight

(Check with your doctor as there are different prep options)

The day of the procedure bring someone with you as you cannot drive or go back to work that day