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Who fears a colon cancer screening the most? Those who have never had one. The fact is, colon cancer screenings aren’t that big a deal, and they can actually prevent colon cancer.
Through early screening, colon specialists can find the colon polyps that may become cancerous tumors. And the sooner colon cancer is detected, the easier it is to treat. Experts recommend routine colon cancer testing for everyone 50 and older at normal risk for colon cancer. People at higher risk, such as having a family history of colon cancer, should be tested sooner.
Colorectal cancer can be hereditary. If you have a family history of colorectal cancer or have been diagnosed yourself, your doctor may recommend genetic counseling and possible testing. This testing is a safe, simple way to discover if you or your family is at risk for certain cancers.
A colon cancer screening test can save your life.
The most common screening for colon cancer is a colonoscopy. During a colonoscopy exam, a flexible tube is inserted into the rectum and moved through the entire colon. A tiny video camera at the tip of the tube allows the doctor to see any polyps that may be present.
Other types of screening include stool tests, a sigmoidoscopy and a virtual colonoscopy or CT scan.
Your primary care doctor or a Mercy colon specialist can help determine which test is best for you. Most insurance companies are now required to cover colorectal cancer screening tests, usually with no out-of-pocket costs for patients.
There are pluses and minuses to each test. Stool tests are less expensive than colonoscopies and can be done at home, but must be repeated annually. Positive findings from a stool test require follow-up care with a Mercy colon specialist.
At Mercy, we offer comprehensive services to diagnose and treat a full range of conditions, including: