Colorectal Cancer Prevention Guidelines
Colorectal Cancer is the third most common cancer in the United States. But if detected and treated in its earliest stages (Stage l) colorectal cancer patients can have nearly a 90% survival rate.
The American Cancer Society recommends colorectal cancer screenings for all adults over age 50, and for African American adults over 45. Screening tests include a barium enema, an X-ray of the large intestine, or a colonoscopy, in which a flexible scope is used to examine the colon. Colonoscopy is considered the gold standard for screening. It is covered by most insurance plans and Medicare.
During this test, a flexible tube with a light at the end is passed into the rectum. The intestine must be completely cleaned using a preparation approved by the physician before this exam. The procedure is generally painless, causing only a slightly bloated sensation as the physician uses air to gently inflate the colon for better viewing.
Are You At Risk for Colon Cancer?
Blood in the stool is one of the most common symptoms of colon cancer. St. Joseph Hospital is pleased to offer a Fecal Occult Blood test kit that can identify if you have traces of blood in your stool. The kit is free, easy to use, and can be used in the privacy of your own home. We'll mail the kit to you upon request. You simply follow the directions on the kit, mail the test back to us and your results will be sent back to you.
Of course, this test should not be used as a substitute for regular exams by your physician. It is recommended that you have a screening colonoscopy at age 50. Your physician may recommend a screening colonoscopy before age 50 if you have any symptoms or a family history of colon cancer. Be sure to make an appointment to see your doctor if your test results are positive for blood in your stool.