Colon Cancer Screening in Texas
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What is a colon cancer screening?
Colon and rectal cancer are often avoidable with proper care. Together, your colon and rectum form the large intestine, which works to absorb water and nutrients from the food you eat and store waste before it is expelled from your body.
A colon cancer screening is simply the process of searching for polyps and other growths on the inner wall of the colon and rectum as a preventative measure. A polyp is a growth on the colon that does not necessarily signal the presence of cancer. However, some of these could grow into cancer in the future. Early detection and removal of colorectal polyps and any cancerous tumors can prevent difficulties and death from cancer of the colon.
Our expert gastroenterologists often perform colorectal cancer screenings for Texas residents. To request a colon cancer screening, contact Texas Digestive Disease Consultants to find a location near you today.
What are the benefits of a colon cancer screening?
Regular screenings for colon cancer are imperative for your overall and gastrointestinal health. Some of the advantages of colorectal cancer screenings include:
- Potentially prevent colon cancer from developing
- May be a life-saving exam
- Detect and extract precancerous growths (polyps) in the rectum and colon
- Potentially diagnose colorectal cancer in the earlier stages
- Diagnose other types of gastrointestinal issues, like IBD
Colon and rectal cancer may not show signs or symptoms until it progresses. Getting screenings on a routine basis can help your doctor detect any concerns as early as possible.
What options do I have for colon cancer screening?
Patients should ask their provider at Texas Digestive Disease Consultants about when to go in for colon cancer screening and which tests to have. Any of the exams listed below might be suggested for a colorectal cancer screening:
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy: This method employs a sigmoidoscope to look at the inner lower colon and rectum. A tube roughly as thick as a finger with a camera attached (sigmoidoscope) will enter your rectum so we can get images of the inside wall and some of your colon. The sigmoidoscope can be used to take a biopsy of the tumor or polyp or to extract some polyps. However, a colonoscopy needs to be done to view the whole colon and extract all tumors or polyps. This procedure is relatively safe, but there is a slight chance of the bowel tearing, bleeding, and/or becoming infected.
- Colonoscopy: A colonoscope is somewhat like a sigmoidoscope, but it is longer and is used to view the inside of the entire colon. It is snaked through the rectum, giving our GI specialist a full view of the colon on our computer system. GI tools can be introduced into the colonoscope to take a biopsy and remove polyps. A form of sedation will be required. There is a small chance of bowel tearing, bleeding, and/or infection after the procedure.
- Virtual colonoscopy: This is a CT scan of the colon. You will be asked to lie on the treatment table, where our CT scanner will take images of the colon. This is a noninvasive technique and does not require you to be sedated. If we find any abnormalities, a colonoscopy will have to be performed to remove the tumors or polyps.
- Double-contrast barium enema: A small tube will be placed into the rectum to pump barium sulfate — a white, chalky liquid — into your colon along with air. The barium suspension will line the outer walls of the colon. X-ray images of the colon will then be taken to showcase abnormalities on the inner wall of the colon. If abnormalities are found, a colonoscopy will need to be done to remove the tumors or polyps.
- Fecal tests: These are performed with a fecal sample and are completely safe. These tests might not give confirmatory results but could suggest abnormalities in the GI tract, warranting further testing. A colonoscopy will need to be performed if the results suggest cancerous growths in your colon. Our Texas gastroenterologists conduct three different types of fecal tests:
- Fecal immunochemical tests, which can detect hidden blood through a certain immunochemical reaction of protein.
- Fecal occult blood tests, which use a chemical reaction that can detect blood in your feces that might normally be invisible to the eye.
- Stool DNA tests, which identify specific abnormal DNA genes in the cells shed from cancerous outgrowth or polyps in a stool sample.
Who might be at risk for colorectal cancer?
- Individuals who have close family members like parents, siblings, or children who have or had colon cancer
- Individuals 45 years of age or over
- People with a previous history of uterine, breast, or ovarian cancer
- Patients with a sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy dietary habits, or who smoke
- Patients who have had colon cancer earlier in their life
- Individuals with ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease
- Individuals who have inherited familial adenomatous polyposis, a condition where individuals develop a number of polyps in the rectum and colon
Request a colorectal cancer screening today
With regular testing, colorectal cancer can be easily detected, and possibly prevented, in its early stages. If you are 45 or older or have had prior conditions that heighten your chances of colon cancer, you may wish to reserve a colon cancer screening. A physician-led team of gastroenterologists who function with a patient-first mentality, Texas Digestive Disease Consultants employs state-of-the-art technology to support your digestive health. To request a colon cancer screening in Texas, contact a location near you.
Colon Cancer Screening FAQs
Why is colon cancer screenings important?
Colon cancer typically develops from irregular growths in the colon or rectum called polyps. During a colonoscopy screening, these precancerous growths can be extracted to help lessen the chance of and potentially even prevent the development of this cancer. Having regular colorectal cancer screenings may also allow physicians to identify cancer that is already present. If colon cancer is caught in the early stages, it may be simpler to treat.
When should I start scheduling colon cancer screenings?
It is advised that people who carry an average risk begin having regular colorectal cancer screenings at 45. Adults with an increased risk might need earlier screenings. Your gastrointestinal provider can help you determine exactly when you should begin your colon cancer screenings.
How frequently should I undergo a colon cancer screening?
The intervals at which you should have colorectal cancer screenings can depend on the type of screening being performed. In general, people aged 45 and over should undergo a colonoscopy screening once every decade when they are at average risk of developing colon or rectal cancer and have normal colonoscopy results. Patients with a significantly high risk should have colonoscopy screenings a minimum of once every five years. To learn how frequently you should arrange for a colorectal cancer screening, please consult your gastrointestinal specialist.
How should I prep for a colon cancer screening?
The preparation process for a colon cancer screening will vary according to the type of screening you are having. Prior to a colonoscopy screening, detailed information on how to prepare will be given by your GI team to clean out your colon. Your GI specialist may also provide specific instructions to follow in the days leading up to your exam. It is vital to follow your provider's instructions to help make sure they can identify any issues when conducting your screening for colorectal cancer.
My name is Jaynie and I can’t say enough how grateful I am to have found DR Tsiakos he’s such an amazing doctor so efficient gentle and caring . He truly cares about his patients and being diagnosed with colon cancer at a young age he is so compassionate and mindful of everything I have gone through this year . Communicated with my oncologist to make sure I get the best care . I am now In remission and got my colonoscopy he pretty much held my hand through the process of nervousness and worry . He’s truly an angel thank you doctor !
Jody Houston and his staff are very concerned about keeping you healthy. My 5 year colonoscopy was due and his office did not stop until they made an appointment with. Spoke to Dr Houston and his words were you are not getting colon cancer on my watch. He is the best by far you owe it to yourself to use his services.
I have a family history of colon cancer so have gone to Dr. Mehta several times for colonoscopy. He and his team are always efficient, professional, and courteous. Highly recommended
I had my annual visit for my stomach problem and 5 year check to schedule my colonoscopy for prevention of family history of colon cancer. Dr. Mani and staff treated me with the utmost care. Everything was done very professionally, polite and friendly. Thank you for your service.
Dr. Steephen is awesome. I have know Dr Steephen since 2001, when my husband was diagnosed with colon cancer. Dr. Steephen is compassionate, caring, professional, honest and a wonderful human being. I would and have recommended her for years and continue to be a loyal patient.