Wonder what the best options are for you when it comes to Colorectal Cancer Screenings? Our list can give you a quick understanding of what each test looks like, and what to expect before, during, and after!
- Performed once every 10 years for those 50 years of age and over at average risk
- Allows for complete evaluation of the colon and removal of potentially precancerous polyps. It’s the only cancer screening tool that is both diagnostic and therapeutic.
- Testing is done under intravenous sedation to assure comfort during the exam
- Complete bowel prep is required the night before
Fecal immunochemical testing (FIT) – stool blood test
- Performed each year for those 50 and over
- Tests for hidden blood in the stool.
- It’s non-invasive and detects about 79% of colorectal cancers and 30% of large colorectal polyps.
- Performed every four years for those 50 years of age and over at average risk
- This exam only evaluates 1/3 of the colon.
- Testing is typically done without any sedation, so it can be uncomfortable, but should not be painful.
- A complete bowel prep is not required
- If polyps are found, a full colonoscopy must be performed for removal
Barium enema with air contrast
- A chalky substance, which shows up on x-ray, is given as an enema. Air is then pumped into the colon causing it to expand. X-ray films then take pictures of the colon.
- No sedation is required
- Large polyps and growths can be missed, but if polyps are detected, a full colonoscopy will be required
- Procedure can be uncomfortable
Virtual colonoscopy (CT Colonography)
- The bowel is inflated with air by a small tube placed in the rectum. Then a special CT scan is used to image the colon
- High detection rate for medium to large polyps but is ineffective in detecting small polyps
- If a polyp or other abnormality is found, a colonoscopy must be performed