Colon Cancer Screening in Florida
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What is a colon cancer screening?
Colon cancer is typically one of the more avoidable cancers. Your colon and rectum make up the large intestine, which absorbs water and nutrients, and holds waste prior to it being discharged from the body.
Screening for colon cancer is the process of looking for polyps and cancer on the inner wall of the colon and rectum when there aren't any gastrointestinal (GI) issues present. A polyp is a noncancerous growth in the colon. However, these might turn into cancer later on. Detecting and removing these polyps and any cancerous growths may minimize the risk of issues and death because of colon cancer.
Our board-certified GI physicians frequently perform screenings for colon cancer for Florida individuals. To book a colon cancer screening, contact Gastroenterology Associates of Florida.
What are the benefits of colorectal cancer screenings?
Screening periodically for colorectal cancer is imperative to your general and GI health. Several advantages of colorectal cancer screenings involve:
- Detect and remove polyps in the colon and rectum
- Possibly prevent colon cancer from developing
- Potentially find colon or rectal cancer early on
- Diagnose other types of GI conditions, like inflammatory bowel disease
- May be an exam that saves your life
Cancer of the colon may not show signs or symptoms until the advanced stages. Getting screenings on a periodic basis can help your doctor identify any issues as early as possible.
Are there colon cancer screening options?
Patients should speak with their GI physician at Gastroenterology Associates of Florida regarding when they should go to a screening and what tests to have. One or more of following tests may be used for a colon cancer screening:
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy: A sigmoidoscopy will be used to view the inner lower colon and rectum. A finger-sized tube with a camera attached (called a sigmoidoscope) will enter the rectum and images will be taken the inner wall as well as part of your colon. It can be used so we can take a biopsy of the tumor or polyp and also getting rid of some polyps. But a colonoscopy needs to be completed to get a look at all of the colon] and remove all polyps or tumors. It is fairly safe but there is a small chance of the bowel tearing, bleeding, and infection.
- Colonoscopy: A colonoscope is similar to sigmoidoscope, but it is longer and is used to view the inner wall of the whole colon. The colonoscope is put in through the rectum and the GI specialist can see the images of the entire colon on our computer system. GI tools may be introduced into the colonoscope to take the biopsy and extract polyps. A form of sedation is applied. There is a minimal chance of the bowel tearing, bleeding, and/or infection occurring after the procedure.
- Virtual colonoscopy: Virtual colonoscopy is a computed tomography scan of the colon. The person is asked to lie on the treatment table where our CT scanner will take cross-section images of the colon. It is a noninvasive technique and doesn't require any sedation. If any abnormalities are detected, a colonoscopy will need to be done to remove the tumors or polyps.
- Double-contrast barium enema: A little tube is inserted into the rectum and barium sulfate, or a liquid that is white and chalky, and air are pumped into your colon. The barium suspension will line the outer walls of the colon. X-rays of the colon are then taken to showcase any abnormalities on the inner wall of your colon. If any abnormalities are identified, a colonoscopy needs to be done to extract the tumors or polyps.
- Fecal test: Fecal tests are completed with the fecal sample and are very safe. Fecal tests might not provide confirmatory results but could suggest abnormalities in your GI tract, necessitating more tests. A colonoscopy needs to be performed if positive results are shown, indicating cancerous growths in the colon. Our Florida gastroenterologists performed three different types of fecal tests:
- Stool DNA tests look for certain abnormal DNA genes in the cells discarded from cancerous growths or polyps in your stool sample.
- Fecal immunochemical tests that detect blood through a certain immunochemical reaction of protein in your blood and is often able to find hidden blood.
- Fecal occult blood tests detect blood in the feces not visible to the eye through a chemical reaction.
Who might be at risk for colorectal cancer?
There are some risks associated with colorectal cancer. A few of those risks include the following:
- People with a history of uterine, breast, or ovarian cancer
- Patients with ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease
- Individuals who have inherited familial adenomatous polyposis, a condition where patients develop many polyps in their rectum and colon
- Individuals who had colon cancer before
- People who have close family members like parents, siblings, or children who have had colon cancer
- Patients over 45 years of age
- Individuals with an inactive lifestyle, bad eating habits, and/or who smoke
To learn more about the risks of colorectal cancer, schedule a consultation with our GI providers at Gastroenterology Associates of Florida.
Schedule your colon cancer screening today
With regular testing, colon cancer can be easy to detect and preventable in the early stages. If you're over 45-years-old or if you've had other conditions that increase your risk of colon cancer, you should schedule a colon cancer screening in our Florida location. A physician-led group of gastroenterologists who work with a patient-focused attitude, Gastroenterology Associates of Florida employs the most innovative technology to maintain your digestive health. For more information about receiving a colon cancer screening in Florida, contact our practice at your earliest convenience.
Colon Cancer Screening FAQs
Why is screening for colon cancer important?
Colorectal cancer commonly starts from growths in the large intestine (colon) or rectum, referred to as polyps. With a colonoscopy exam, these precancerous growths can be excised to help lower the risk of and potentially prevent colon cancer from occurring. Having regular colon cancer screenings may also allow physicians to find cancer that is already present. It may be easier to treat colon or rectal cancer when the disease is detected in the early stages.
At what age should I begin colon cancer screenings?
Individuals at average risk for the disease are advised to start regular colorectal cancer screenings when they turn 45. Adults carrying a higher risk may need earlier screenings. Your GI physician can help you determine when you should begin having colon cancer exams.
How frequently should I have a colon cancer screening?
The intervals at which patients should have colorectal cancer screenings may depend on the type of screening being performed. In general, individuals who are age 45 and older should have a colonoscopy once every decade when they carry an average risk of developing colorectal cancer and experience normal colonoscopy results. Patients with a significantly high risk are advised to have colonoscopy screenings at least once every five years. For details on how often you should schedule screenings for colon cancer, please talk to your GI physician.
What can I do to prepare for my colorectal cancer screening?
The best way to prep for a colon cancer screening will vary according to the type of screening received. When having a colonoscopy exam, detailed information on how to prepare will be given to you by your gastroenterology team before your procedure to clean out your large intestine. Your gastroenterologist may also provide specific instructions to follow in the days leading up to your exam. It is vital to abide by your physician's instructions to help ensure they can observe any concerns when conducting your screening.
I have been seeing Dr Simon for almost 20 years and he has been nothing but great. He really cares about you as a person. He is very thorough and actually listens to you. I go every five years because of a history of colon cancer in the family and remembers me every time. A really great guy and doctor.