About 1 in 23 men and 1 in 25 women will be diagnosed with colon cancer in their lifetime. Colon cancer is preventable and treatable, thanks to colon cancer screening. Hampshire Gastroenterology Associates, LLC makes it easy to stay up-to-date on your screening at the Florence, Massachusetts, office. Call the office book your exam now.
Colon cancer screening is a test that detects early signs of colorectal cancer. Colorectal cancer usually starts with small growths of abnormal cells called polyps. While polyps aren't cancers, they can become cancerous if left to grow.
Polyps rarely cause symptoms, so most people don’t know they have them. Colon cancer screening can detect and remove polyps before they can cause problems.
Colon cancer screening methods include:
Generally, stool tests check for blood in your stool, which is a sign of colon polyps and colon cancer. DNA stool tests also check for abnormal DNA that may represent colon polyps or cancer.
Colonoscopy is the main method of colon cancer screening. During a colonoscopy, your provider inserts a slim, flexible tube (a colonoscope) into your anus and threads it up into your rectum and colon. They can view your whole colon using the built-in mini-camera at the tube’s tip.
If your provider sees polyps during your colonoscopy, they can thread special tools through the tube to remove the abnormal growths.
In a flexible sigmoidoscopy, your provider uses a thin tube (a sigmoidoscope) to examine the bottom part of your colon and the rectum. The test is very similar to colonoscopy but encompasses only the last third of the colon.
The Hampshire Gastroenterology Associates, LLC team uses the newest and most advanced high-definition scopes for maximum efficacy in polyp detection and removal.
Most people with an average risk of colon cancer need a colonoscopy once every 10 years, starting at the age of 45. You may need other colon cancer screening tests based on your health and your provider’s recommendation.
If you have an increased risk of colon cancer, you’ll generally need more frequent screening. Factors that increase your risk of colon cancer include:
The Hampshire Gastroenterology Associates, LLC team can discuss your risk factors and health with you before recommending a colon cancer screening schedule.
Colon cancer screening can require as little as a day of your time every decade — and it can save your life. To schedule your screening, call Hampshire Gastroenterology Associates, LLC!