Colorectal cancer is the 2nd or 3rd most common cancer in the Western world.
It is potentially preventable, which makes it a target for screening and prevention.
• High-sensitivity fecal occult blood test (FOBT), which checks for hidden blood in three consecutive stool samples; should be done every year.
• Flexible sigmoidoscopy, where physicians use a flexible, lighted tube (sigmoidoscope) to look at the interior walls of the rectum and part of the colon; should be done every five years with FOBT every three years.
• Colonoscopy, where physicians use a flexible, lighted tube (colonoscope) to look at the interior walls of the rectum and the entire colon; should be done every 10 years. During this procedure, samples of tissue may be collected for closer examination, or polyps may be removed. Colonoscopies can be used as screening tests or as follow-up diagnostic tools when the results of another screening test are positive.
Other Screening Tests in Use or Being Studied:
• Cat Scan colonography
• Stool DNA Test
If you are age 50 and older, you are at average risk if you have the following:
• No symptoms
• No personal or family history of colorectal cancer or precancerous polyps (benign growths in the inside surface of the colon or rectum)
• No personal history of inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s colitis)
• No family history of colorectal cancer or precancerous polyps
People with an increased risk for colorectal cancer may benefit from earlier, more frequent screenings.
You are at increased risk if you have one of the following:
• Personal history of colorectal cancer or precancerous polyps
• Family history of a first-degree relative (such as a parent or sibling) who had cancer or a precancerous polyp in the colon or rectum before the age of 50, or multiple family members with colorectal cancer or polyps
• Personal history of long-standing (more than eight years) inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s colitis)
• Family history of familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP).
• Family history of Lynch syndrome (formerly known as hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer), a condition caused by mutations in specific genes that accounts for approximately 2 to 3 percent of all colorectal cancer diagnoses
• You may also have an increased risk for colorectal cancer if you’ve had therapy for another type of cancer. In that case, your treatment team may recommend more frequent screenings.
• Stronger family history may indicate a genetic predisposition to colorectal cancer and will be further evaluated.
Tests that prevent cancer are preferred over those that only detect cancer
Colonoscopy findings and recommended scheduling of follow-up colonoscopy will be discussed after your examination.
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The information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self-diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a Gastroenterologist or medical doctor regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs including, but not limited to: abdominal pain, haemorrhoids or anal / rectal bleeding as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today and schedule a consultation.
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© Dr. H Schneider, Registered Gastroenterologist, GI Doc Johannesburg
Our website information is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a doctor about your specific condition. Only a trained physician can determine an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment.