Colon cancer screening: Weighing the alternatives

Colon most cancers screening is an essential part of program wellbeing care. If you’re not certain which colon most cancers screening examination is greatest for you, request your self these issues.

By Mayo Clinic Team

If your health practitioner has recommended colon most cancers screening, you may well be equipped to choose from a variety of colon cancer screening assessments.

If you happen to be unwilling to make a conclusion, bear in mind that any irritation or embarrassment from colon most cancers screening is momentary — and detecting challenges early could help you save your daily life.

Screening checks are utilized only if you you should not have bowel symptoms. If you have indicators and indications — this sort of as belly soreness, a modify in bowel patterns, bleeding, constipation or diarrhea — then you will need to have other tests to address these challenges.

If you don’t have bowel signs or symptoms, look at the subsequent issues to aid pick out the colon most cancers screening check that’s best for you.

What planning is concerned?

Planning for colon cancer screening can be awkward or inconvenient, but it can be required for the test to be powerful. As part of your decision, contemplate your willingness or capability to follow the preparing recommendations for unique colon most cancers screening tests.

This may perhaps — to various degrees — involve averting strong foodstuff the day just before the examination, altering your medications, and drinking a laxative resolution or employing enemas to empty your colon.

How easy is the take a look at?

In addition to examination preparation, take into consideration:

  • How extended the check will choose
  • How often you need to have to repeat the check
  • Regardless of whether you are going to require sedation
  • How a great deal adhere to-up care you can require
  • The possible require for stick to-up screening to examine a bogus-good discovering or to take away tissue

What about cost and insurance plan concerns?

Obtain out how substantially every colon cancer screening test charges, as well as which tests your insurance enterprise handles. Consider whether or not you might be willing to spend out of pocket if vital.

What is your perspective towards screening tests?

The far more thorough the colon most cancers screening check, the extra most likely it is to detect any cancer or precancerous polyps. Conversely, a extra thorough examination could possibly also necessarily mean extra-inconvenient or more-uncomfortable planning, a a bit greater chance of severe troubles, or equally.

Talk to by yourself:

  • Will you experience best if you know you have selected the most comprehensive screening take a look at attainable?
  • Will you worry or question the effects if you select a significantly less delicate test?
  • How concerned are you about ease, preparation or the probability of critical issues?

What is your doctor’s approach to screening exams?

Make guaranteed that you are relaxed with the colon cancer screening check your medical professional suggests. If your physician specializes in a distinct exam, but you’d instead have an additional check, express your wishes. Your doctor could possibly supply a referral to another person skilled in the test with which you sense most relaxed.

What is your possibility stage?

Your chance of colon cancer may well affect your alternative of screening exams. If you have an amplified hazard of colon most cancers, your doctor could propose a lot more-regular colon cancer screening with colonoscopy.

Talk to your medical professional about your colon cancer danger if you:

  • Have a own record of colon cancer or precancerous polyps
  • Have a father or mother, sibling or youngster who has experienced colon cancer
  • Have a gene for a hereditary colon most cancers syndrome
  • Have a heritage of inflammatory bowel disorder, this sort of as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s sickness

What are the execs and cons of each individual examination?

This is an overview of the most popular colon cancer screening checks.


All through a colonoscopy exam, a long, flexible tube (colonoscope) is inserted into the rectum. A small movie camera at the suggestion of the tube will allow the health care provider to detect adjustments or abnormalities inside the whole colon.

Colonoscopy can take about 30 to 60 minutes and screening is typically repeated each 10 years if no abnormalities are observed and you never have an improved danger of colon most cancers.

The pros:

  • Colonoscopy is one particular of the most delicate assessments currently accessible for colon cancer screening.
  • The medical doctor can check out your entire colon and rectum.
  • Abnormal tissue, these types of as polyps, and tissue samples (biopsies) can be removed via the scope all through the examination.

The cons:

  • The examination may possibly not detect all compact polyps and cancers.
  • A thorough cleaning of the colon is needed before the examination.
  • Diet regime adjustments are required right before the exam, and medicines may perhaps need to be adjusted.
  • Sedation is pretty much often used, and it can get a number of hrs to dress in off.
  • Mainly because of the sedation, you’ll require a person to generate you property.
  • Rare complications may well include bleeding from the web site exactly where a biopsy was taken or a polyp or other abnormal tissue was removed, or bleeding from a tear in the colon or rectum wall.
  • Cramping or bloating may happen afterward.

Stool DNA check

The stool DNA test takes advantage of a sample of your stool to seem for DNA variations in cells that may show the presence of colon cancer or precancerous problems. The stool DNA take a look at also seems to be for symptoms of blood in your stool.

For this test, you acquire a stool sample at dwelling and ship it to a laboratory for testing. Stool DNA screening is ordinarily recurring each individual a few decades.

The execs:

  • The take a look at would not require bowel preparing, sedation or insertion of a scope.
  • You can take in and consume typically, and take your regular medicines, prior to the check.
  • The stool can be gathered at dwelling, averting disruption of function and day by day things to do.

The cons:

  • The DNA stool check is fewer sensitive than colonoscopy at detecting precancerous polyps.
  • If abnormalities are observed, supplemental checks might be wanted.
  • The assessments can counsel an abnormality when none is existing (fake-beneficial result).

Fecal occult blood exam or fecal immunochemical test

Fecal occult blood exam (FOBT) and fecal immunochemical examination (In good shape) are lab checks used to check out stool samples for hidden (occult) blood. The tests typically are recurring on a yearly basis.

The pros:

  • Stool sample collection can be carried out at dwelling.
  • You can find no require to vacant the colon ahead of time.
  • There is no need to have for sedation.

The disadvantages:

  • The checks fail to detect some polyps and cancers.
  • Specified foods and drugs may possibly need to be prevented for many times just before the take a look at.
  • If blood is detected, further exams may well be necessary to ascertain the resource.
  • The tests can propose an abnormality when none is existing (bogus-constructive consequence).

Digital colonoscopy (CT colonography)

All through a virtual colonoscopy, a CT scan provides cross-sectional photographs of the abdominal organs, permitting the physician to detect improvements or abnormalities in the colon and rectum. To aid develop crystal clear illustrations or photos, a small tube (catheter) is placed within your rectum to fill your colon with air or carbon dioxide.

Digital colonoscopy usually takes about 10 minutes and is commonly repeated every single five decades.

The pros:

  • Compared with common colonoscopy, virtual colonoscopy isn’t going to need sedation or the insertion of a scope into the colon.

The downsides:

  • Like common colonoscopy, a thorough cleaning of the bowel is demanded beforehand.
  • The test may not detect all modest polyps and cancers.
  • Diet program adjustments are required before the test, and prescription drugs might will need to be altered.
  • Radiation exposure may well be a concern. On the other hand, the level of radiation made use of all through a screening CT scan is decreased than the volume utilized in a diagnostic CT scan.
  • Given that tissue samples are not able to be taken through the test, a adhere to-up colonoscopy could possibly be essential if an abnormality is detected.
  • Cramping or bloating could possibly take place afterward.
  • The test could detect abnormalities in other belly organs and more tests may be desired to ascertain the result in.

What is the base line?

Choosing a colon most cancers screening check may perhaps not be an straightforward determination, but it truly is a probably lifesaving a single. Check with your health care provider about your colon most cancers screening possibilities.

Dedicate to a screening timetable based on your private hazard factors. Don’t forget, the earlier colon most cancers is detected, the less difficult it is to deal with.