Colon cancer screening: Weighing the selections

Colon cancer screening is an important aspect of plan wellbeing treatment. If you happen to be not certain which colon cancer screening examination is ideal for you, check with your self these concerns.

By Mayo Clinic Employees

If your medical doctor has recommended colon cancer screening, you may well be ready to pick out from many colon cancer screening checks.

If you happen to be hesitant to make a determination, recall that any irritation or humiliation from colon cancer screening is temporary — and detecting complications early could help save your daily life.

Screening checks are utilized only if you really don’t have bowel signs or symptoms. If you have indicators and signs or symptoms — these kinds of as abdominal pain, a adjust in bowel practices, bleeding, constipation or diarrhea — then you may want other checks to address these complications.

If you really don’t have bowel signs or symptoms, look at the following concerns to enable pick out the colon cancer screening examination that is ideal for you.

What preparing is concerned?

Planning for colon cancer screening can be not comfortable or inconvenient, but it is really important for the examination to be productive. As aspect of your determination, look at your willingness or means to stick to the preparing guidance for unique colon cancer screening checks.

This may possibly — to different degrees — incorporate keeping away from solid food items the day just before the test, adjusting your prescription drugs, and ingesting a laxative resolution or utilizing enemas to vacant your colon.

How hassle-free is the examination?

In addition to examination preparing, look at:

  • How extensive the examination will acquire
  • How usually you want to repeat the examination
  • No matter if you may want sedation
  • How much stick to-up treatment you may want
  • The achievable want for stick to-up testing to examine a phony-favourable locating or to take out tissue

What about value and coverage troubles?

Come across out how much just about every colon cancer screening examination prices, as effectively as which checks your coverage firm addresses. Think about whether you happen to be inclined to pay back out of pocket if important.

What is actually your perspective towards screening checks?

The a lot more extensive the colon cancer screening examination, the a lot more very likely it is to detect any cancer or precancerous polyps. Conversely, a a lot more extensive examination may well also mean a lot more-inconvenient or a lot more-not comfortable preparing, a somewhat better risk of critical difficulties, or each.

Request your self:

  • Will you feel ideal if you know you have picked the most extensive screening examination achievable?
  • Will you fear or question the benefits if you pick out a fewer delicate examination?
  • How concerned are you about comfort, preparing or the risk of critical difficulties?

What is actually your doctor’s strategy to screening checks?

Make certain that you happen to be cozy with the colon cancer screening examination your medical doctor endorses. If your medical doctor specializes in a specific examination, but you’d somewhat have an additional examination, convey your wishes. Your medical doctor may well offer a referral to another person properly trained in the examination with which you feel most cozy.

What is actually your risk stage?

Your risk of colon cancer may well affect your selection of screening checks. If you have an elevated risk of colon cancer, your medical doctor may well endorse a lot more-frequent colon cancer screening with colonoscopy.

Talk to your medical doctor about your colon cancer risk if you:

  • Have a particular historical past of colon cancer or precancerous polyps
  • Have a father or mother, sibling or baby who has had colon cancer
  • Carry a gene for a hereditary colon cancer syndrome
  • Have a historical past of inflammatory bowel disorder, these kinds of as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disorder

What are the pros and drawbacks of just about every examination?

Here is an overview of the most common colon cancer screening checks.


Through a colonoscopy test, a extensive, adaptable tube (colonoscope) is inserted into the rectum. A very small video clip camera at the idea of the tube permits the medical doctor to detect improvements or abnormalities inside the whole colon.

Colonoscopy normally takes about 30 to sixty minutes and screening is generally recurring every ten many years if no abnormalities are identified and you really don’t have an elevated risk of colon cancer.

The pros:

  • Colonoscopy is one of the most delicate checks at present readily available for colon cancer screening.
  • The medical doctor can see your whole colon and rectum.
  • Abnormal tissue, these kinds of as polyps, and tissue samples (biopsies) can be eliminated through the scope all through the test.

The drawbacks:

  • The test may well not detect all tiny polyps and cancers.
  • A extensive cleansing of the colon is essential just before the examination.
  • Diet regime improvements are essential just before the examination, and prescription drugs may possibly want to be modified.
  • Sedation is almost usually utilized, and it can acquire various hrs to don off.
  • Due to the fact of the sedation, you may want another person to push you house.
  • Rare difficulties may possibly incorporate bleeding from the web site where by a biopsy was taken or a polyp or other irregular tissue was eliminated, or bleeding from a tear in the colon or rectum wall.
  • Cramping or bloating may well happen afterward.

Stool DNA examination

The stool DNA examination uses a sample of your stool to appear for DNA improvements in cells that may well point out the existence of colon cancer or precancerous disorders. The stool DNA examination also seems for indicators of blood in your stool.

For this examination, you acquire a stool sample at house and send it to a laboratory for testing. Stool DNA testing is generally recurring every 3 many years.

The pros:

  • The examination will not call for bowel preparing, sedation or insertion of a scope.
  • You can try to eat and consume typically, and acquire your typical prescription drugs, just before the examination.
  • The stool can be gathered at house, keeping away from disruption of get the job done and day-to-day routines.

The drawbacks:

  • The DNA stool examination is fewer delicate than colonoscopy at detecting precancerous polyps.
  • If abnormalities are identified, more checks may well be essential.
  • The checks can suggest an abnormality when none is present (phony-favourable final result).

Fecal occult blood examination or fecal immunochemical examination

Fecal occult blood examination (FOBT) and fecal immunochemical examination (Suit) are lab checks utilized to test stool samples for concealed (occult) blood. The checks generally are recurring per year.

The pros:

  • Stool sample selection can be accomplished at house.
  • There’s no want to vacant the colon ahead of time.
  • There’s no want for sedation.

The drawbacks:

  • The checks fail to detect some polyps and cancers.
  • Specific food items and prescription drugs may well want to be averted for various times just before the examination.
  • If blood is detected, more checks may well be essential to decide the supply.
  • The checks can suggest an abnormality when none is present (phony-favourable final result).

Virtual colonoscopy (CT colonography)

Through a virtual colonoscopy, a CT scan provides cross-sectional photos of the abdominal organs, permitting the medical doctor to detect improvements or abnormalities in the colon and rectum. To enable build apparent photos, a tiny tube (catheter) is placed inside your rectum to fill your colon with air or carbon dioxide.

Virtual colonoscopy normally takes about ten minutes and is generally recurring every five many years.

The pros:

  • Contrary to standard colonoscopy, virtual colonoscopy will not call for sedation or the insertion of a scope into the colon.

The drawbacks:

  • Like regular colonoscopy, a extensive cleansing of the bowel is essential beforehand.
  • The test may well not detect all tiny polyps and cancers.
  • Diet regime improvements are essential just before the examination, and prescription drugs may possibly want to be modified.
  • Radiation exposure may possibly be a concern. Nevertheless, the stage of radiation utilized all through a screening CT scan is decrease than the amount utilized in a diagnostic CT scan.
  • Due to the fact tissue samples can’t be taken all through the test, a stick to-up colonoscopy may well be essential if an abnormality is detected.
  • Cramping or bloating may well happen afterward.
  • The examination may possibly detect abnormalities in other abdominal organs and more checks may possibly be essential to decide the lead to.

What is actually the bottom line?

Picking out a colon cancer screening examination may possibly not be an easy determination, but it is really a possibly lifesaving one. Talk to your medical doctor about your colon cancer screening selections.

Dedicate to a screening plan based mostly on your particular risk aspects. Remember, the earlier colon cancer is detected, the easier it is to address.