National Colon Cancer Awareness Month
March is National Colon Cancer Awareness month. Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States among cancers that affect both men and women. If you are 50-75 years old, ask your healthcare provider about colon cancer screening today. Colon cancer screening isn’t what it used to be! There are multiple screening tests you can complete from the comfort of your own home.
- Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) uses antibodies to detect blood in stool. this test is done once a year.
- Guaiac-Based Fecal Occult Blood Test (gFOBT) uses the chemical guaiac to detect blood in the stool. This test is done once a year.
- Stool-DNA test (Cologuard) combines the FIT with a test that detects altered DNA in the stool. For this test you collect an entire bowel movement and send it to a lab, where it is checked for cancer cells. This test is done every three years.
Stool tests are not for everyone. If you have a personal or family history or colon cancer, or other health conditions such as Chron’s Disease or ulcerative colitis, your healthcare provider will recommend a screening colonoscopy.
- For this test the doctor uses a long, thin, flexible, lighted tube to check for polyps (pre-cancerous growths) or cancer inside the rectum and the entire column. During the test, the doctor can find and remove most polyps and some cancers. Colonoscopy also is used as a follow-up test if anything unusual is found during one of the other screening tests.