Is a Colorectal Cancer Screening the Same as a Colonoscopy?
Colorectal cancer, more commonly known as colon cancer, is a cancer of the colon or rectum. As we age, polyps in the large intestine (also called the colon) and the rectum can form. While these polyps are usually harmless, they can begin to multiply into cancerous cells. Early detection, and removal, of these polyps prevents them from becoming cancerous. Because detection is key to prevention and successful treatment, starting regular screenings for colorectal cancer is recommended at the age of 45. Those with underlying risk factors, such as a family history of colorectal cancer or certain bowel diseases, should talk with their doctor about starting screening earlier.
Early detection is important to successful treatment, but you may be wondering what the process for early detection entails. Is a colorectal cancer screening the same as a colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy is one option for colorectal cancer screening. During this medical procedure, a small, flexible tube is inserted into the body and through the entire colon. A camera on the end is used to detect and remove polyps and cancerous growths. Because it is the most thorough, preventative colonoscopy screenings are only necessary every ten years. They are always ordered as a follow-up test if another colorectal cancer screening comes back abnormal.
In addition to a colonoscopy, there are several other types of colorectal cancer screenings, ranging from minimally invasive to thorough. They also differ in how often they must be repeated. A colonoscopy is a type of visual colorectal cancer screening and is often considered the standard for colorectal cancer screening. There are other options for visual screenings (such as virtual colonoscopies which use ultrasound technology), as well as stool sample tests (which look for blood or cancerous cells present in the stool), but they all fall under the umbrella of colorectal cancer screenings.
If you are at an age at which colorectal cancer screenings are recommended (or you are at a higher risk for colorectal cancer), you have several options for testing, one of which is a colonoscopy. Are you ready to begin colorectal cancer screenings? Do you have questions about what type of screening is best for you based on your medical history and risk factors? Call our office at (864) 574-0070. Our team of dedicated doctors are here to serve you.