Colon Cancer Screening in North Houston
The Importance of Colon Cancer Screening
Colon cancer is one of the most preventable forms of cancer, yet it remains the second leading cause of death from cancer in the United States. Regular screenings are essential to catching colon cancer early when it is most treatable. Despite this, many people avoid screening or put off getting tested – but doing so puts them at risk for developing colorectal cancer.
Screening can detect early signs of colorectal cancer, such as polyps that may eventually become cancerous if not removed. By catching and removing these pre-cancerous growths, colonoscopy screenings can help prevent the development of colorectal cancer or catch it at an earlier, more treatable stage.
Who Should Get Tested?
In general, doctors recommend that people aged 45 and older should receive regular screenings for colorectal cancer. However, some individuals may be at an increased risk of developing colorectal cancer due to lifestyle choices or a family history of the disease. People with a personal or family history of colorectal cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, or polyps should talk to their doctor about whether they need to start screenings earlier than 45.
Types of Screenings
There are several types of tests available for colon cancer screening. Let’s go over the most common options:
Colonoscopy: This is the most commonly used and detailed test available. During a colonoscopy, your doctor will use a small camera to look inside your colon for any signs of cancer or pre-cancerous growths.
Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT): This is a screening option that requires you to collect stool samples at home, which are then sent to a lab for analysis. The test looks for trace amounts of blood in your stool, which can be a sign of polyps or cancer.
Flexible Sigmoidoscopy: During this procedure, your doctor will use a small camera to examine the lower portion of your large intestine, looking for any abnormalities.
Virtual Colonoscopy: This type of screening uses X-rays and computer imaging to create an image of your colon. It can be useful for finding polyps or other abnormalities that may not be visible during a regular colonoscopy.
How to Prepare for a Colon Cancer Screening
The exact prep will vary depending on the type of screening you undergo, so you’ll need to talk with your doctor for specific advice. In the meantime, here are some general tips for getting ready for your colon cancer screening:
- Start drinking plenty of fluids a few days before the test. This helps to ensure that you remain hydrated during the procedure.
- Avoid eating solid foods and dairy products 24 hours before the test. This will help make sure your intestines are empty when it’s time for the colonoscopy.
- Ask your doctor about any medications you should avoid taking before the test. Certain medications can interfere with the results of some screenings, so it’s important to check in advance.
The Bottom Line
Colon cancer screening is an essential part of staying healthy and preventing colorectal cancer. Talk to your doctor about which type of screening is right for you, and make sure you follow their instructions for how to prepare. This can help ensure the best results – and the best chance at catching any abnormalities early.
The time you spend preparing for a colon cancer screen may seem like a hassle, but it’s an essential step in protecting your health. By taking the time to get tested, you could be saving your life.
Allied Digestive Can Help
If you are experiencing symptoms of colorectal cancer or are interested in colon cancer screening, visit the Allied Digestive Disease Center of Houston. Our team strives to provide excellence in gastroenterology, hepatology, and nutrition services for patients in North Houston and the surrounding areas. We believe quality care begins with a patient-centered approach to diagnosing and treating both minor and chronic GI conditions. Schedule an appointment at our practice today by calling 832.912.4481 or fill out the form on this page.