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Learn The Appropriate Procedures Used In Screening For Colon Cancer

Colon cancer refers to a disease of the colon caused by out-of-control cell growth arising from the large intestines inner walls forming a deadly mass –tumor. These cancerous cells have a tendency of invading and damaging healthy tissues around the tumor area causing a series of complications.

Screening tests are performed to detect a particular disease. Early colon cancer detection gives you a good chance of being cured. Curing involves surgical removal before it invades other body parts and organs. Studies reveal that with screening the percentage of early detected colon cancer cases that can be prevented stands at a whopping 90%. For people who are 50 years and over screening is a necessity. Screening saves lives by facilitating early detection of polyps which in turn can be surgically gotten rid of before they turn into cancer.

Generally its cancer is more treatable on early diagnosis before it spreads. However, the primary advantage is; a real chance of cure if it hasn’t progressed and prevention. Also there is a possibility of cutting the number of cancer deaths. Among the risks are: Being falsely reassured when the cancer is not detected which results to one not getting the required treatment and unnecessary treatment as a result of over-diagnosis is another potential risk. It stems from slow detection of harmless slow growing cancerous cells. Treatment for this case is in most cases uncalled for hence financial distress is experienced; one is put at arms way if certain depending on the treatment option they go for.

The following are some of the available screening tests for colon cancer:


A flexible tube fitted with a video camera is used in checking the upper and lower part of the colon for polyps and other abnormalities. The procedure takes 20 minutes during which biopsies (tissue samples) are taken and growths removed.
This process has a few setbacks which include:
• Chances of not detecting all the abnormalities.
• The need to undergo colon cleansing a day prior to the procedure which is an unpleasant routine.
• Possible complications like bleeding experienced in the polyp area
• colon complications

Virtual Colonoscopy

This procedure is a new technique that utilizes the use of computerized tomography (CT) scanning to develop virtual pictures of the colon. Cleaning of the colon is necessary; on the day of the test air is injected into the patient’s anus by use of a tube. The computerized tomography then generates cross-sectional images of the colon. Thorough analysis of the scans enables finding of polyps often missed by colonoscopy.

The said test has many benefits. Sedation is not needed, it takes a shorter time and the insertion of a scope into the colon is not required. Limitations to this procedure range from low accuracy compared to colonoscopy since polyps that are not protruding can be missed to diagnosis of polyps when they are not there due to small stool pieces.

Fecal occult blood test (FOBT)

This test is carried out to look for blood hidden in the patients stool sample. Read what to expect during a fecal occult blood test. Hidden traces of blood in the stool are a sign of polyps or cancer. Cleansing of the colon is not necessary for this here.


Flexible Sigmoidoscopy involves the use of a flexible lighted tube with a video camera to check the rectum and the sigmoid colon. Sedation is not called important with this procedure. Furthermore tissue samples can be taken during the examination. Patients are required to keep off solid food a day prior to the test.

A view of the whole colon is possible here. Its key benefits are infrequent complications afterwards. In the event that any abnormalities have been revealed follow-up tests are required.

Barium enema

Barium in the colon alongside a special X-ray is used in examining and detection of colon abnormalities in this test. A special dye is employed as a contrast medium to generate a clearer image showing abnormalities. At most the process takes 40 minutes. On the flip side of this test is the possibility of not being able to detect some polyps. Barium is known to cause constipation in some individuals also.

Certain circumstances in their medical or family history may make a procedure medically preferable to the rest of the tests therefore consultation with their doctors is important during preparation. Consultation from North West Independent Hospital also gives the patients an idea of the benefits of the procedure as well as the potential risks involved.

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