Routine colorectal cancer screening is the best way to prevent colon cancer
or find it at any early, more treatable stage. Both men and women should
adopt a regular screening schedule, beginning at age 50.
In individuals with colorectal cancer risk factors, screening should begin
at an earlier age and/or be performed more often. Risk factors include:
- A strong family history of colorectal cancer
- A personal history of colorectal cancer or polyps
- A personal history of inflammatory bowel disease
Colorectal Cancer Screening Tests
Several tests can be used to screen for colorectal cancers. These tests
can be divided into:
Tests that can find both colorectal polyps and cancer. These tests look at the structure of the colon itself to identify any abnormal
areas. They are done either with a scope put into the rectum or with special
imaging tests. Polyps found during these procedures can be removed, so
these tests may prevent colorectal cancer. These tests are preferred if
they are available and you are willing to have them.
Tests that detect cancer. These tests check stool for signs of cancer. While they are less invasive
and easier to have done, they are less likely to detect polyps.
Tests That Can Find Both Colorectal Polyps and Cancer
Flexible sigmoidoscopy. A thin, flexible, lighted tube with a small video camera on the end is
put into the rectum to view the rectum and the lower part of the colon.
If an abnormality is seen, it can be biopsied or removed. Less than half
of the colon can be seen with this procedure.
Colonoscopy. Similar to a flexible sigmoidoscopy, a colonoscopy allows the entire length
of the colon and rectum to be viewed. If any abnormalities are seen, they
can be biopsied or removed.
Double-contrast barium enema. In this x-ray test, air and a chalky liquid called barium sulfate are put
into the colon and rectum to outline the inner lining. If suspicious areas
are identified, a colonoscopy will be recommended to explore them.
CT colonography. Also known as virtual colonoscopy, this test is an advanced type of computerized
tomography (CT) scan of the colon and rectum. Special computer programs
create both 2D and 3D views of the inside of the colon and rectum. This
test may be useful for people who can’t—or don’t want
to—have more invasive tests.
Tests That Mainly Find Cancer
Fecal occult blood test (FOBT). This test detects hidden blood in the stool through a chemical reaction,
but cannot tell if the blood is from the colon or from other parts of
the digestive tract.
Fecal immunochemical test (FIT). Similar to an FOBT, this test detects hidden blood in the stool, but through
a different chemical reaction.
Cologuard® colon cancer test. This test detects hidden blood in the stool, as well as abnormal cell associated
with colon cancer and precancerous polyps.
The Gastrointestinal Cancer Center of New Jersey
The Gastrointestinal Cancer Center of New Jersey offers expert, state-of-the-art
care for oncology problems ranging from the simplest to the most complex.
Our approach is designed specifically to integrate with a multidisciplinary
care plan combining medicine, surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy,
as necessary. Our expert physicians emphasize patient-centered, compassionate care.
The Gastrointestinal Cancer Center provides expertise in the management
of upper and lower gastrointestinal tract tumors, soft tissue sarcomas,
melanoma and endocrine tumors. Our physicians are among the most accomplished
and highly trained in the region, making every effort to apply minimally
invasive techniques whenever feasible.
The physicians at the Gastrointestinal Cancer Center of New Jersey provide
advanced screening, diagnostic and treatment services for a full range of gastrointestinal conditions. With the largest radiology
department in New Jersey, we offer state-of-the-art technology combined
with personalized care. Our capabilities include:
- Barium swallow testing
- Capsule endoscopy
- Double balloon enteroscopy
- Endoscopic ultrasound and biopsy
- Heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy
- Magnetic resonance imaging
- Pancreatic biopsy
Meet our GI cancer specialists