Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the US.
Did you know that recommended screenings could prevent 60% of these deaths? People at increased risk because of a family history of colorectal cancer or polyps or because they have inflammatory bowel disease or certain inherited conditions may be advised to start screening before age 50 and/or have more frequent screening.
Rectal and Colon Cancer Risk Factors
There are several risk factors that could increase your chance of developing colorectal cancer and may require that you get screened earlier or more frequently.
You may be at risk if you:
- Are older than 50
- Are overweight or not physically active
- Smoke or use tobacco
- Drink alcohol in excess
- Eat a lot of red meat or processed meat
- Have a history of colorectal cancer, polyps, or IBD
Colorectal Cancer Screenings in Reston VA
There are many screenings that should be done to check for colorectal cancer, yet almost 28 million Americans are not up-to-date on their screenings. Here’s what you should know about each type of screening you need between the ages of 50 and 75:
Colonoscopy – a procedure where your doctor will look inside your entire colon and rectum for early signs of colorectal cancer. Polyps, a growth along the lining of the intestine, may be removed in the event that they are cancerous or to prevent them from becoming cancerous. A colonoscopy should be done every 10 years.
Virtual colonoscopy – a diagnostic imaging procedure which uses an x-ray of the colon to screen for cancer, polyps, or other conditions. This test should be done every 5 years.
Flexible sigmoidoscopy – a procedure to check for early signs of cancer in the rectum and lower colon. Your doctor may need to take biopsies or remove polyps during the procedure, and it should be done every 5 years.
Double-contrast barium enema – a test performed every 5 years, although colonoscopies recently have been done more often. X-rays are taken of the large intestine after liquid containing barium, a contrast material, is inserted into the rectum.
Stool occult blood test (FOBT) – a stool sample usually collected at home with a test kit and then sent to a lab. This should be done every year.
Stool immunochemical test (FIT) – looks for blood in the stool, which can be an early sign of cancer. This test is recommended every year.
Talk with Dr. Brett Sachse at Surgical Consultants of Northern Virginia about the best screening options for you, and whether you need colorectal cancer screenings earlier or more often.
Sources: http://www.cancer.gov/types/colorectal/patient/colorectal-screening-pdq#section/_13 http://preventcancer.org/learn/preventable-cancers/colorectal/