March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month!

March 1st, 2019

COLON CANCER SCREENING OPTIONS

*If you have no personal or family history of colorectal cancer, polyps or inflammatory bowel disease, the recommended screening age is 50 or older

Colonoscopy - The Gold Standard

  • The only test that can truly PREVENT colon cancer by removing polyps before they become cancerous
  • Recommended every 10 years unless cancerous or pre-cancerous polyps are discovered

Stool DNA Test

  • This is a DNA probe in combination with FIT test
  • No special diet or bowel preparation is required for this test, however if it does come back positive, a colonoscopy is needed to confirm and possibly remove any polyps - this is usually an out of pocket expense and not covered by insurance
  • Recommended for those who are at average risk for colorectal cancer or have no history of pre-cancerous polyps or colorectal cancer
  • Not FDA approved for high- risk patients

Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT)

  • These take home kits are used to find small amounts of blood in the stool that could be a sign of cancer or large polyps
  • In the result of a positive test, a follow- up colonoscopy is necesssary, but now considered diagnostic and not covered as a screening benefit
  • Recommended every year as long as results are negative
  • Significant false positive and false negative results - less accurate

CT Colonography

  • Also called a virtual colonoscopy, this is a scan of the colon and rectum that produces cross-sectional images to search for polyps or cancer by pumping air into the rectum and colon
  • This screening option requires a bowel prep, but no sedation
  • Significant radiation exposure
  • If something suspicious is found, a follow-up colonoscopy will be needed, which will now be considered diagnostic and not covered as a screening benefit