Colon Cancer Screening in Louisiana
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What is a colon cancer screening?
Colon and rectal cancer are often some of the most avoidable cancers. Your large intestines (rectum and colon) absorb water and nutrients and hold waste before it's released from the body. A colon cancer screening checks for polyps and growths that could be cancerous on the inner wall of the colon and rectum when no other gastrointestinal (GI) issues exist.
A polyp is a growth that is not cancerous in the colon. However, these may turn into cancer later. Early detection and removal of colorectal polyps and any cancerous growths can reduce the risk of problems and death due to colorectal cancer. Our expert gastroenterologist specialists frequently perform colon cancer screenings for Louisiana residents. To request a colon cancer screening, please contact GastroGroup & Endocenter today.
What are the benefits of colon cancer screenings?
Regular screenings for colon cancer are vital to your GI health and overall health. Several benefits of colon cancer screenings are:
- Potentially catch colon cancer earlier
- Detect and remove precancerous growths (polyps) in the colon and rectum
- Can be a life-saving exam
- Detect other types of gastrointestinal issues, such as IBD
- Possibly prevent colon cancer from developing
Cancer of the colon may not show signs or symptoms until the advanced stages. Undergoing screenings on a regular basis can help identify any concerns as soon as possible.
What are the available colon cancer screening options?
Any of the following tests could be used for a colorectal cancer screening at GastroGroup & Endocenter:
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy: A sigmoidoscopy is a tool that shows the inside of the rectum and lower colon. A finger size tube with a camera attached (called a sigmoidoscope) enters the rectum and images are taken of the inside wall and part of the colon. It might also be used to take a biopsy of the polyp or tumor and getting rid of some polyps. However, a colonoscopy needs to be completed to see the whole colon and remove all tumors or polyps. It is relatively safe but there is a minimal chance of the bowel tearing, bleeding, and infection.
- Colonoscopy: A colonoscope is similar to sigmoidoscope, but it is longer and used to examine the inner wall of the entire colon. The colonoscope is inserted through the rectum. Our GI doctor can see a full view of the colon on our computer system. Specific tools may be introduced into the colonoscope to complete the biopsy and extract polyps. Some form of sedation is required. There is a slight chance of bowel tears, bleeding, and/or infection due to the procedure.
- Virtual colonoscopy: This is a computed tomography scan of the colon. You will be asked to lie on the table where our CT scanner will take cross-section images of your colon. This is a noninvasive treatment and doesn't require any sedation. If any abnormalities are detected, a colonoscopy needs to be performed to extract the polyps or tumors.
- Double-contrast barium enema: A thin tube is inserted into your rectum with barium sulfate (a liquid that is white and chalky), and air is pumped into your colon. The barium suspension will line the outer walls of your colon. X-rays of the colon will then be taken to showcase abnormalities on the inner wall of your colon. If abnormalities are found, a colonoscopy needs to be done to remove the tumors or polyps.
- Fecal test: Fecal tests are performed with the fecal sample and are totally safe. These tests might not provide confirmation of but could suggest abnormalities in your GI tract, necessitating more testing. A colonoscopy will need to be repeated if your results are positive, suggesting cancerous growths in the colon.
Our Louisiana gastroenterologists offer three types of fecal tests:
- Fecal occult blood tests detect blood in your feces not visible to normal eyes through a chemical reaction.
- Fecal immunochemical tests detect blood through a immunochemical reaction of protein. This reaction finds hidden blood in the stool.
- Stool DNA tests look for specific abnormal/irregular DNA genes from the cells shed from cancerous growths or polyps in a stool sample.
Who may be at risk for colorectal cancer?
- People with familial adenomatous polyposis, a condition where they develop a number of polyps in the colon and rectum
- People 45 and older
- People with an inactive lifestyle, unhealthy eating habits, or who smoke
- Individuals with immediate family members such as parents, siblings, or children who have or had colon cancer
- People who had colon cancer previously
- People with a history of uterine, breast, or ovarian cancer
- Individuals with ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease
Colon Cancer Screening FAQs
Why is colon cancer screenings important?
Cancer of the colon typically arises from irregular growths in the colon or rectum called polyps. During a colonoscopy, these precancerous polyps can be excised to help reduce the risk of and possibly even prevent the development of this cancer. Having regular colon cancer screenings may also help identify cancer that has already progressed. When colorectal cancer is found early on, it can be less complicated to treat.
At what age should I start having colon cancer screenings?
It is recommended that people with an average risk for colon cancer should start routine colon cancer screenings upon turning 45. Those at higher risk may require screenings before this age. Your GI provider can help you determine exactly when you should begin having colorectal cancer screenings.
How often should you have a screening for colon cancer?
The intervals at which adults should schedule colorectal cancer screenings typically depend on the procedure being performed. In most cases, people who are 45 years old and older should have a colonoscopy screening every ten years when they are at average risk for colon or rectal cancer and have normal colonoscopy results. Individuals who have a significantly high risk are advised to have colonoscopy screenings at least once every five years. For details on how often you should schedule a colon cancer screening, please get in touch with your gastrointestinal specialist.
How should I prep for my colon cancer screening?
The best way to prep for a colon cancer screening depends on the screening type being performed. When having a colonoscopy exam, your GI team will provide certain prep instructions before your appointment to clear out your colon. Your GI specialist may also give you special instructions to follow for several days prior to your exam. It is essential to abide by your doctor’s instructions to help make sure they can observe any concerns during your colorectal cancer screening.
Reserve a colorectal cancer screening today
Colorectal cancer can be easily detected and preventable in its early stages with regular screenings. If you are over 45 years old or if you have conditions that increase your risk of colon cancer, you might want to book your colon cancer screening. A physician-led team of GI providers who work with a patient-centric outlook, GastroGroup & Endocenter utilizes the most innovative technology to strengthen digestive health. For more information about receiving a colorectal cancer screening in Louisiana, contact our office at your earliest convenience.
Doctor Dugan and the staff at The Gastro Group are top notch. After surviving colon cancer in 2000, It was necessary to have check ups often. After finding Doctor Dugan and her team, my testing and follow ups were the best ever. I will go nowhere else!
Dr. Anthony Albright has been my Gastro Doctor for many years. He is very concerned for his Patients Health and Well Being . He is very thorough with Treating his Patients and he will do whatever Tests or Treatment needed for Patients to help get them Well .. In June 2019, I had some very serious issues with my abdominal region and had a procedure that Dr. Albright found the problem I was having and Saved my Life.. He found that the Obstruction I had was Colon Cancer and that I needed Surgery immediately to remove it and he set up my appointment with the Surgeon to do Surgery and within Six Days I had my Surgery. If it weren't for Dr.Albright, I may not be here today. I can't thank him enough for what he did. He Saved my Life, and for this I can't say enough for the Incredible Doctor he is.