Colon Cancer Screening is the best way to catch this colon cancer before this ugly disease becomes intractable. It is far easier to treat cancer in its early stages than later on, and colon cancer is one of the harder types to catch without using special colon cancer screening techniques.
Many men are afraid of the dreaded colonoscopy, but that is just one of several tried-and-true techniques for performing a colon cancer screening. Here are the basic methods of screening for colon cancer:
Colonoscopy Colon Cancer Screening
The silver standard. A bit of anesthesia will relax you (and the muscles of your anal sphincter), and make you a little sleepy. The doctor will then insert thin, flexible line with an attached video camera into your rectum and look around at your entire colon. Sometimes, the doctor can remove polyps or tumors using the same tool as part of the exam. The process is rarely painful, but is uncomfortable and for some men can be embarrassing.
Flexible Sigmoidoscopy Colon Cancer Screening
Flexible sigmoidoscopy is much like a traditional colonoscopy, but rather than a thin, flexible line, a thicker, not-as-flexible instrument capable of taking much better pictures of the body is used. This less-flexible tool can only view the sigmoid – the last third of the colon – and so isn’t as useful in detecting all forms of colon cancer. On the other hand, it can catch sigmoidal colon cancer much earlier than even a colonoscopy. Oftentimes the two are used in conjunction, along with a fecal occult blood test.
Rigid Sigmoidoscopy Colon Cancer Screening
Rigid Sigmoidoscopy is like its flexible counterpart, but uses a rigid tool in place of a flexible one. It’s much less comfortable, and thankfully rarer.
Fecal Occult Blood Test Colon Cancer Screening
In a fecal occult blood test, no insertion of machinery into your rectum is necessary. Essentially, this test checks your stool for microscopic amounts of blood. You simply take a stool sample – at home, and put into a special kit and bring it to your medical provider. They will examine it for blood, and if they find any…well, there’s more insertion of machinery in your future.
It’s possible to get a false positive on a fecal occult blood test, so before you go in for this type of colon cancer screening, you must go for 48 hours without eating red meat, horseradish, aspirin, and most vegetables.
Double-Contrast Barium Enema Colon Cancer Screening
Not technically machinery, the barium enema still involves an insertion – but this time the doctor is injecting a barium-laced fluid into your rectum. The liquid shows up easily on an X-ray, and allows the shapes and contours around it to show up as well. This will give your doctors a chance to see any unusual growths quickly. If they do show up, it’s time for the colonoscopy!
If you have even the slightest notion that you might have colon cancer, immediately schedule an appointment to have a colon cancer screening – remember, the longer you give it to grow, the more deadly it becomes.