Get information about Colon Cancer Screening methods at Advanced Gastro Center
Occult Stool Blood Test and Colonoscopy
Colon cancer is a serious disease that, according to the American Cancer Society, will cause over 50,000 deaths in the United States in 2017. The best hope of successfully treating colon cancer lies in early detection. This is achieved through screening colonoscopies and immediate investigation of any
symptoms. Since one of the major symptoms of colon cancer is blood in the stool, any rectal bleeding or bloody stool should be brought to your doctor’s attention right away.
Occult Stool Blood Test
However, blood in the stool is not always obvious. This is where an occult stool blood test comes in. The test is very simple and can be done by the New Jersey Advanced Gastro Center gastroenterological doctors at the office or by yourself in your own home. A small amount of stool is applied to a special reactive card. Once you give the card to your gastroenterologist, they will interpret your results and inform you. A positive test does not necessarily
mean colon cancer. Any blood could easily be from another source, such as hemorrhoids, but it still needs to be investigated. A colonoscopy is often the next step after a positive occult stool blood test.
A colonoscopy is a non-surgical procedure performed by a gastroenterologist to inspect the lower gastrointestinal (GI) tract. A form of endoscopy, a colonoscopy may be done for solely diagnostic purposes but can also be interventional, providing some form of treatment. Typically, a colonoscopy allows a gastroenterologist to inspect the entire large bowel, also known as the colon, from the rectum to the terminal ileum.
Indications for Colonoscopy
Colonoscopies are most commonly performed for colorectal cancer screening. The American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) currently recommends that most people receive a screening colonoscopy at age 50 and then at 10-year intervals. However, certain patients may need to undergo a colonoscopy at a younger age or more frequently. These include patients with a family history of colorectal cancer or patients with certain types of colon polyps.
A colonoscopy has additional purposes beyond cancer screening. Patients experiencing signs of GI tract bleeding, such as low hemoglobin levels or blood from the rectum, may also need a colonoscopy to pinpoint and address the source of bleeding. Furthermore, the procedure can aid in the diagnosis or confirmation of a variety of GI diseases and conditions. These include abdominal pain, diverticulitis, diverticulosis, Crohn’s disease, celiac disease,
chronic diarrhea, and ulcerative colitis.