As the third most diagnosed cancer in men and women, colon cancer accounts for nearly 100,000 new cases of cancer in the U.S. each year. Fortunately, the death rate from colon cancer has been on the decline for several decades thanks to earlier detection and improvements in treatment. At Regional Cancer Care Associates, our dedicated cancer physicians utilize advanced screenings to detect colon cancer when it’s most treatable.
Starting at age 45, the American Cancer Society recommends for adults at normal risk to have screenings once every 10 years. However, for higher risk patients, a healthcare provider may recommend starting screenings earlier. In addition to being a routine screening, colonoscopies play a crucial role in detecting colon cancer in patients who display symptoms.
During the test, your doctor will look inside the rectum and colon using a flexible, lighted tube with a small video camera attached while you’re sedated. If a polyp is detected, a special instrument may be used to extract the polyp.
Another type of colon cancer screening, a flexible sigmoidoscopy (FSIG) should be performed once every five years or as recommended by a doctor. It’s similar to a colonoscopy in that it uses a tiny video camera attached to a tube to look inside the rectum and sigmoid colon. However, sedation is generally not necessary. While a biopsy may be performed with this type of screen, doctors often recommend performing a full colonoscopy to get a better look at the whole colon.
A CT colonography, or virtual colonoscopy, is considered a minimally invasive colon cancer screening. Instead of using a scope to look at your colon, this type of screening uses a CT scan to take and combine images to form a digital model. Eligible candidates should have a CT colonography every five years. If a polyp or abnormal tissue is detected, a traditional colonoscopy may be recommended, so the physician can perform a biopsy.
When a doctor finds colon polyps or abnormal tissue, they may need to order additional tests. In most cases, the physician will send samples of abnormal tissue to a laboratory to learn if they’re cancerous, precancerous or noncancerous. If the tests come back positive, your doctor may start you on a treatment plan or continue to monitor the condition.
For decades, RCCA has been on the leading edge of colon cancer screenings and treatments. If you have any signs of colon cancer, contact us today to schedule a consultation with our cancer care specialists.
Regional Cancer Care Associates is one of fewer than 200 medical practices in the country selected to participate in the Oncology Care Model (OCM); a recent Medicare initiative aimed at improving care coordination and access to and quality of care for Medicare beneficiaries undergoing chemotherapy treatment.