Colon cancer screening is an important tool that allows your doctor to find and remove polyps before they turn into cancer. It can also detect the existence of colorectal cancer, which is very treatable if caught early.
In this blog, Manhattan gastroenterologist Dr. Anthony Borcich will explain more about colon cancer screening, including who is a candidate for this type of procedure.
Why is colon cancer screening important?
Colorectal cancer is the third most common type of non-skin cancer in both men and women, and it’s the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S.
It causes abnormal cells in the colon or rectum to divide and form a malignant tumor. Colorectal cancer usually begins with a polyp – a tissue growth on the inside of the colon or rectum. Polyps don’t always indicate cancer, but a certain type known as an adenoma can have a higher chance of developing into cancer.
Colon cancer screening allows your doctor to detect potentially suspicious polyps, allowing him or her to take a tissue sample (biopsy) or remove them for further testing. It’s the most effective way to identify and remove suspicious polyps or tumors and not only can detect colon cancer in its early stages, but also remove polyps that have a high chance of developing into cancer.
What does colon cancer screening involve?
A colonoscopy allows your doctor to see the inner lining of your colon and rectum. You’ll have to prepare for your screening by emptying the contents of your colon so your doctor can see any polyps. This usually involves restricting your diet by drinking only clear liquids the day before. You’ll also be given a bowel prep that will clean out your colon. This part isn’t pleasant, and many people find it more uncomfortable than the colonoscopy itself.
Before your colonoscopy begins, you’ll be given a sedative or painkiller to make you comfortable. The doctor will use a colonoscope – a long, flexible tool – to check for evidence of any changes or abnormal lesions or polyps in your colon and rectum. In addition to allowing your doctor to screen for problems, a colonoscopy also lets him or her remove any polyps or tissue that look abnormal and/or remove small tissue samples for further testing.
Who is a candidate for colon cancer screening?
Men and women should start receiving regular colon cancer screenings starting at age 50 and continuing until age 75. After age 75, you should talk to your doctor about whether you should be screened.
In some cases, however, you may need to be screened before age 50 or need more frequent testing. The following are some risk factors that may indicate a need for earlier or more frequent testing:
- A close relative who had colorectal polyps or cancer
- An inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
- A history of smoking
- A history of heavy alcohol use
- Type 2 diabetes
You should talk to your doctor about any risk factors you may have in order to determine when you should start to be screened and how often. The frequency may also depend on whether any suspicious polyps are found. If they are, you’ll probably need more frequent colon cancer screening.
Where should you get screened for colon cancer in NYC?
Dr. Anthony Borcich provides the highest level of colon cancer screening in Manhattan, combining experience and expertise with compassionate care. He uses the newest FUSE scope technology that provides unique three-camera panoramic 333-degree views, allowing him to conduct a thorough examination. This technology provides the highest detection rate for adenomas, the type of polyp that’s the greatest cause for concern.
He performs most of his colonoscopies at Manhattan Endoscopy Center. This state-of-the-art facility is the area’s newest and most modern endoscopy center and offers the convenience of an office procedure combined with the safety of a hospital-level setting.
If you’d like to find out whether a colon cancer screening is recommended in your particular case, make an appointment with Dr. Borcich’s office today.