3 Colon Cancer Screening Tests You Can Take To Determine If You Have Colon Cancer

Posted on: 11 July 2022

Colon cancer is among the top five most common types of cancer in America. As a result, the American Cancer Society estimates there are 106,180 new cases of colon cancer in 2022. About 25% of persons aged 50 years and above develop colon cancer polyps. Thus, adults around fifty years old should get regular colon cancer screenings. Routine screening can help detect the development of colon cancer polyps early and enable a person to start seeking early treatment. But, several different types of tests and screening are used to detect colon cancer. Thus, if you intend to go for colon cancer screening, here are three test options you can pick.   


During a colonoscopy, a Gastroenterologist inserts a tool called a colonoscope inside a patient's rectum and colon via the anus. A colonoscope comprises a thin tube attached to a small lit camera on one end and a screen on the other end. Thus, a Gastroenterologist inserts the end of the colonoscope with a camera in your colon, and the camera sends back live footage of your colon walls. Therefore, a colonoscopy makes it pretty easy for a Gastroenterologist to detect cancer polyps inside your colon by visually inspecting the colon. If you are wondering whether a colonoscopy is a painful process: the answer is no. A Gastroenterologist will first sedate you before inserting the colonoscope. As a result, you will not feel any pain during the colonoscopy.   


A Sigmoidoscopy is like a colonoscopy because a Gastroenterologist inserts a lighted tube with a lens in your colon via the anus. During a colonoscopy, a Gastroenterologist examines your entire large intestine for signs of colon cancer. However, a Gastroenterologist only examines the lower parts of a person's large intestine during a Sigmoidoscopy. Thus, a Sigmoidoscopy is less intrusive than a colonoscopy. However, because a Sigmoidoscopy only screens part of the large intestine for colon cancer, it is pretty easy for a Gastroenterologist to miss cancer polyps that are further up the colon. As a result, a Sigmoidoscopy is not a comprehensive colon cancer screening test.   

Stool DNA Tests   

If you are uncomfortable with gastroenterologists sticking tubes up your anus, there are other non-intrusive colon cancer screening tests. An example of such a test is a stool DNA test. A stool DNA test examines the cells in your stool for signs of colon cancer. If there are mutations or changes in the structure of the cells, it could be an indicative sign of colon cancer. However, a stool DNA test is not always a conclusive way of confirming that a person has colon cancer. Thus, even if a Gastroenterologist finds mutated cells in your fecal matter, they will recommend further screenings better determine if you have colon cancer.