Colorectal Cancer Screening
Colorectal cancer is the fourth most common type of cancer and the second most common cause of cancer death in the US. The American Cancer Society recommends all men and women age 50 and older have a screening colonoscopy to check for signs of colon cancer, even if no symptoms are present. People with a family history of colon cancer should begin screening at an earlier age.
The development of colorectal cancer can be effectively prevented with early detection and removal of polyps (abnormal growths) in the colon and rectum before they become malignant. Screening tests can find colorectal cancer early, when treatment works best and the chance for a full recovery is very high.
Greenwich Hospital's colorectal specialists offer the following screening procedures:
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- Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT). An at-home test that checks for occult (hidden) blood in the stool. This test is recommended yearly. (If blood is found, you likely will need a follow-up colonoscopy.)
- Flexible Sigmoidoscopy. The doctor uses a narrow, flexible, lighted tube to look at the inside of the rectum and the lower portion of the colon. During the exam, the doctor may remove some polyps (abnormal growths) and collect samples of tissue or cells for closer examination. This test is recommended every 5 years. (If polyps are found, you will need a follow-up colonoscopy.)
- Colonoscopy. Colonoscopy is a procedure used to look at the inner lining of the colon and rectum. This procedure uses a colonoscope, a flexible tube-like device outfitted with a miniaturized camera, to take pictures or video of the colon. A colonoscopy can detect inflamed tissue, ulcers, and abnormal growths and is used as a screening test to look for early signs of colorectal cancer. The physician may take small tissue samples for biopsy, apply medications or heat treatment directly to the lining of the colon, or remove polyps. This test is recommended every 10 years.