How and when should you be screened for colon cancer?

How and when should you be screened for colon cancer?

5 minutes, 35 seconds Read

Colon cancer affects millions around the world. Early detection can improve the outcome of colon cancer. This article will discuss the significance of

colon screenings.


How and when to undergo the screening, and common myths and concerns.

Colon cancer: An Introduction

The most common type of cancer in the world is colorectal cancer, which occurs in the colon or rectum. Untreated, cancer can start as a polyp. If left untreated, it will grow into a large tumor. Early detection of polyps and their treatment is crucial.

Understanding Colon Cancer

Risk Factors

According to health category of EduTechBuddy, a number of factors, such as age, family history, and lifestyle decisions like diet and exercise, can raise the risk for colon cancer.


Some of the symptoms that may be present in colon cancer include abdominal pain, fatigue, unaccounted weight loss, and blood in stools. It’s important to remember that not everyone will experience symptoms during the initial stages.

Checklists for Screening

Age recommendations

According to current guidelines, individuals with an average risk of colon cancer are advised to begin screening regularly at 45 years old. Some individuals may have to start screening sooner if they are at high risk for colon cancer or if their family has a history.

High-Risk Individuals

A family history or personal experience of colon cancer or hereditary conditions like Lynch Syndrome, familial polyposis, or an inflammatory bowel condition may indicate a higher level of risk. This could mean that screening should be done earlier and more frequently.

Family history

You may be recommended to start by your healthcare provider.

They are screening sooner than most people if a relative of first-degree (parent, child, sibling) has colon cancer.

There are many types of screening tests.


The gold standard in colon cancer screening is colonoscopy. A flexible tube equipped with a video camera is used to look for polyps or abnormalities in the colon lining. If polyps are found, they can also be removed at the same time.

Fecal Immunochemical Test

The FIT test is noninvasive and detects blood hidden in stools, a sign that colon cancer or precancerous polyps may be developing. It involves sending a stool specimen to the laboratory.

Flexible Sigmoidoscopy

Flexible sigmoidoscopy is similar to colonoscopy in that it uses a flexible tube equipped with a camera. It only examines the lower part of the colon and the rectum.

CT Colonography

CT colonography, also known as virtual colonoscopy

or CT imaging of the colon, produces detailed images. This is a less invasive procedure than traditional colonoscopy, but it still involves bowel prep.

Prepare for screening

Dietary Restrictions

You may be required to adhere to a specific diet or avoid certain foods or beverages for a certain period before undergoing screening tests such as colonoscopy and flexible sigmoidoscopy. Your healthcare provider will provide detailed instructions.

Adjustments to Medication

Some medications, such as iron supplements or Blood thinners, can be temporarily adjusted or stopped prior to specific screening procedures to reduce the risks of complications.

The Screening Process

Colon cancer screening is a critical component of preventive healthcare, designed to identify signs of colorectal cancer in its early stages when treatment is most effective. The American Cancer Society recommends that individuals of average risk begin regular screening at age 45, while those with a family history of colon cancer or other risk factors may need to start screening earlier. Screening methods include colonoscopies, stool-based tests like fecal immunochemical tests (FIT) and fecal occult blood tests (FOBT), as well as virtual colonoscopies.

Choosing the Right Screening Method

Colonoscopies are considered the gold standard for detecting colon cancer and precancerous polyps because they allow direct visualization of the colon and the removal of polyps during the procedure. Stool-based tests are non-invasive alternatives that detect blood or abnormal DNA in the stool, indicating the presence of cancerous or precancerous growths. Virtual colonoscopies use CT scans to create images of the colon, providing a detailed view without the need for sedation or insertion of a scope. The frequency of screening depends on the chosen method and individual risk factors, with colonoscopies typically recommended every 10 years for average-risk individuals, while stool-based tests may be performed annually or every few years. It’s essential to consult with a healthcare provider to determine the most appropriate screening strategy based on individual health history and preferences. Regular screening for colon cancer can significantly reduce the risk of advanced-stage colorectal cancer and improve overall outcomes through early detection and intervention.

Scheduling Appointments

After you and your doctor have decided on the best screening test, they can help schedule a time that is convenient for both of you. You must carefully follow all pre-procedure directions.

Overview of the Procedural

You will be seated comfortably, and you may receive sedation to relax. The healthcare provider will perform any necessary tests or examinations according to the method chosen.

The Benefits of Early Detection

Screening for colon cancer early can offer several benefits. These include improved treatment options, increased survival rates, and even the possibility of altogether preventing cancer by removing precancerous polyps.

Addressing Myths and Concerns

Discomfort and Pain

Most people are concerned about feeling pain during colon cancer screenings. The technology has improved, and the sedation methods have been refined to make these screenings more comfortable.


Sedation may be used to relax patients and reduce discomfort during procedures such as colonoscopies. Most patients do not remember the procedure, and they experience slight discomfort.


Some people are also concerned about the cost of colon cancer screening. Many insurance plans include preventive screenings, and programs may be available to those without or with inadequate coverage.

The conclusion of the article is:

Regular screening is essential for early detection and improved outcomes. Knowing the standard concerns and types of screenings can assist individuals in protecting their health.



When should I begin screening for colon carcinoma if there is no history of the disease in my family?

  • For individuals at average risk, screening should start as early as 45 years old.

How often should colon cancer be screened?


  • Your risk factors and the test type used will determine how often you should be screened. Your healthcare provider can provide personalized advice.

What other screening options are available?

  • Several screening options are available, such as FIT, CT colonography, or flexible sigmoidoscopy. Speak to your doctor to determine the right choice for you.

Do I have to leave work during the colon cancer screening procedure?

  • Most screenings are done as outpatient procedures and do not typically require extended leave of absence. You may still need to have the day off after the screening procedure to recover.

Do I have to restrict my diet before a colonoscopy procedure?

  • Yes,


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