Did you know that colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States? Approximately 48,000 individuals die annually from colon cancer in the USA, and with this many deaths, it is important that you have an early and regular colon cancer screening to get treatment.
Colon Cancer 101
The colon stores food from the small intestines and this carries toxins. The toxins holdparasites that can cause malignant tumors that can spread to the body. The best way to help find cancer is by early colon cancer screening tests. It is easier to treat cancer when it is starting to show its warning signs. Depending on your symptoms, doctors will choose the kind of test that you need. This is because there are many different screening tests for colon cancer. The following tests should be done periodically to detect the cancerous cells.
- Colonoscopy after every ten years
- Sigmoidoscopy after every five years
- Double Barium Enema or Virtual colonoscopy, also after five years
Examples of colon screening tests many people have heard of colonoscopy. This kind of test will be done when you are under medication to make you feel relaxed and sleepy. It is usually not painful but is a bit uncomfortable. The doctor usually inserts a thin flexible tube that has a video camera in your rectum, and they can view the colon. It is also possible to remove the cancers and polyps during the exam.
The other colon cancer screening method is the flexible sigmoidoscopy. It is more or less the same as the colonoscopy but in this test, a hollow tube with lighting at the end, is inserted into your rectum. This hollow tube also has a video of which the doctor can see inside the colon.
Digital rectal exam is another screening method where the doctor inserts their gloved fingers into your rectum to feel any growths. This may not be painful but can cause a bit of discomfort. Also, it is not as effective because it can test only ten percent of all colon cancers.
Why you need to be tested regularly
If the disease is detected as a small polyp during a routine screening test, like colonoscopy, the growth can be taken out at time of the procedure without the need for the surgical removal of any of the colon. During the test when growth is detected at the early stages, the tumor can be removed using the testing apparatus without the need for surgery a process known as colon resection. When the disease advances to stage three, then colon resection becomes ineffective, and the patient needs to go through chemotherapy.
If it is detected during colon cancer screening that the tumor has advanced to stage four, the patient will not only undergo chemotherapy; they will need surgery that might involve other multiple organs. The essence of chemotherapy is to reduce the number of tumors, but if they are many and sizable, the patient might need a combination of drugs, chemotherapy, and surgery to eliminate the cancerous cells.