Colorectal Cancer - Exams and Tests
Routine screening can reduce deaths from colorectal cancer. Some screening tests find and remove polyps before they can turn into cancer. Other screening tests look for early signs of cancer, because that is when treatment works better. Screening methods include:
Stool tests look for signs of cancer. If used as recommended, these tests may find cancer early, when treatment works better. Sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy are tests that find and remove polyps to stop them from turning into cancer. Virtual colonoscopy finds polyps. With stool tests and virtual colonoscopy, if there are abnormal findings, you will need to have a colonoscopy to remove any polyps.
Talk to your doctor about which test is right for you.
People with a higher risk for colorectal cancer, such as African Americans and
people with a strong family history of colon cancer, may need to begin routine
testing before age 50 and have it more often.
If you have a very
strong family history of colon cancer, you may want to talk to your doctor or a
genetic counselor about having a blood test to look
for changed genes.
Genetic testing can tell you whether you carry a
changed, or mutated, gene that can cause colon cancer. Having certain genes
greatly increases your risk of colon cancer. But most cases of colon cancer are
not caused by changed genes.
- Colon Cancer: Which Screening Test Should I Have?