Why, What, and How to Screen for Colorectal Cancer

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Why, What, and How to Screen for Colorectal Cancer

A screening test looks for diseases when a person does not have any symptoms. When a person has symptoms, diagnostic tests are performed to determine the cause of the symptoms. Dr. Ram Chandra Soni, the best Gastroenterologist in Faridabad helps to promote the importance of colorectal cancer screening. Learn more about screening and how you can get involved in spreading the word!

Precancerous polyps (abnormal growths) in the colon or rectum are almost always the cause of colon or rectal cancer. Tests can detect precancerous polyps, so that they can be removed before they turn into cancer. Colorectal cancer can also be detected early through screening tests, when treatment is most effective.

Are you at risk for colorectal cancer? 

According to Dr. Ram Chandra Soni, people at average risk for colorectal cancer should begin screening at 45 years old. This recommendation is lower than other guidelines for age 50.

Those at average risk should continue screening through the age of 75 if they are expected to live at least 10 more years. Patients 76 to 85 should work with their doctors to determine if they should continue to be screened regularly. Those over 85 are not required to continue screening.

A person at higher risk for colorectal cancer may need to start screening before the age of 45.

People with a strong family history of colorectal cancer or polyps or those with a family history of hereditary cancer syndromes such as Lynch syndrome and familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) are at greater risk.

The risk is also higher for people with inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease). 

Your healthcare provider can help determine your colorectal cancer risk. You can also get advice from them on when you should start regular screenings and what type of test is best for you.

How is colorectal cancer screened?

There are a variety of colorectal cancer screening tests available besides the colonoscopy test.

A colonoscopy is used to detect polyps (or abnormal growths) and cancer inside the rectum and the colon as a whole. During a colonoscopy, polyps may be removed by the doctor.

Also, a flexible sigmoidoscopy can be used to examine the rectum and lower third of the colon, which is similar to a colonoscopy.

Depending on the test, stool tests can detect blood or cancer cells in the stool. Furthermore, a “virtual colonoscopy” has been developed that uses X-rays and computers to create an image of the entire colon.

While less invasive tests may seem like a more convenient option, it’s always important to follow your doctor’s recommendations for the right screening test. In the event that a screening test reveals anything unusual, a colonoscopy will be performed.

Is it necessary to get screened?

The death rate from colorectal cancer has actually been declining. Early detection and treatment are most likely responsible for this, so don’t wait to get screened!

What is the best way to get screened for colorectal cancer?

It’s never too early to discuss colorectal cancer screening with your primary care provider or gastroenterologist. Your doctor can determine if you need to begin screening earlier even if you think you are too young.

If you think you may be at increased risk for colorectal cancer, discuss with your doctor when to begin screening, which test is right for you, and how often to be screened.

Don’t forget to educate yourself and your family about colorectal cancer screening! 

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