Colon Cancer Screening in Ocean Springs, MS

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Colorectal cancer is typically one of the more curable cancers. The colon and rectum are contained in the large intestine, which absorbs water and some of the nutrients digested from food, and stores waste before it's released from the body.

A colon cancer screening is simply looking for polyps and cancer on the inside wall of the colon and rectum when no gastrointestinal issues currently exist. A polyp is a noncancerous growth in the colon. Yet, some of these may become cancer later on. Detecting and removing these polyps and any malignant growths can help avoid issues and death due to colon cancer.

Our experienced gastroenterologist specialists often perform colorectal cancer screenings for Ocean Springs, MS residents. To request a colon cancer screening, contact a local Digestive Health Center today.

What are the benefits of a colon cancer screening?

Regular screenings for colon cancer are very important to your general and GI health. Some of the advantages of colon cancer screenings are:

  • Possibly catch colon or rectal cancer in the earlier stages
  • Potentially prevent colon cancer from developing
  • Identify and remove abnormal growths in the colon and rectum
  • Detect other colon conditions, such as inflammatory bowel disease
  • May save your life

Colon and rectal cancer may not carry signs or symptoms until the advanced stages. Scheduling screenings on a routine basis can help your doctor diagnose any concerns or conditions early on.

It is important to discuss with your Digestive Health Center provider when you should go in for a screening and what tests should be done. The tests listed below may be used for a colon cancer screening:

  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy: A sigmoidoscopy will be used to examine the inside of the lower colon and rectum. A tube about the size of a finger with a camera (called a sigmoidoscope) is inserted through the rectum so we can get images of the inner wall and a portion of the colon. It might also be used for taking a biopsy of the polyp or tumor as well as getting rid of some polyps. However, a colonoscopy will need to be completed to view all of the colon and remove all polyps and tumors. This procedure is relatively safe but has a minimal risk of a bowel tear, bleeding, and infection.
  • Colonoscopy: A colonoscope is like a sigmoidoscope, but it is longer and is used to examine the inner wall of the whole colon. It is placed into the rectum, and your provider can see a full view of the colon on our computer system. GI tools will be passed through the colonoscope to complete the biopsy and extract polyps. Sedation is required. There is a slight risk of bowel tears, bleeding, and/or infection occurring after the procedure.
  • Virtual colonoscopy: This is a computed tomography scan of your colon. The person is asked to lie on the table where our CT scanner will take cross-section images of the colon. It is a noninvasive treatment and doesn't require you to be sedated. A colonoscopy must be performed to extract the tumors or polyps if abnormalities are detected.
  • Double-contrast barium enema: A little tube is inserted into your rectum, and barium sulfate, or a chalky white liquid, and air will be pumped into the colon. The barium suspension lines the outer walls of the colon. X-rays of your colon will then be taken to identify abnormalities on the inner wall of your colon. A colonoscopy must be done to remove the tumors or polyps if any abnormalities are identified.
  • Fecal test: Fecal tests are completed with the fecal sample and are totally safe. These tests may not give confirmatory results but may suggest abnormalities in your GI tract, calling for further tests. A colonoscopy should be performed if your results are positive, indicating cancerous growths within the colon.

Our Ocean Springs, MS gastroenterologists perform three various types of fecal tests:

  • Fecal occult blood tests detect blood in your feces that isn't visible to normal eyes through a chemical reaction.
  • Fecal immunochemical tests that detect blood through a specific immunochemical reaction of protein in your blood and can find nonvisible blood.
  • Stool DNA tests identify specific abnormal or irregular DNA genes from the cells discarded from cancerous outgrowth or polyps in a stool sample.
  • Patients with a sedentary lifestyle, bad eating habits, and those who smoke
  • People with close family members such as parents, siblings, or children who have or had colon cancer
  • Patients with ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease
  • Patients with familial adenomatous polyposis, a condition where they develop many polyps in the rectum and colon
  • People who had colon cancer before
  • Women with a previous history of breast, ovarian, or uterine cancer
  • People over 45 years old

Routine screenings make colorectal cancer easy to detect and preventable in its early stages. If you are over 45 or have had other conditions that increase your risk of colon cancer, you should request a colorectal cancer screening. Digestive Health Center is a physician-led team of GI specialists who work with a patient-first mindset and use leading technology to maintain digestive health. To schedule a colorectal cancer screening in Ocean Springs, MS, contact a facility near you today.

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Why is having colon cancer screenings important?

Colon cancer often develops from abnormal growths in the large intestine (colon) or rectum called polyps. With a colonoscopy exam, these premalignant growths can be removed to help minimize the chance of and potentially prevent colon cancer development. Undergoing regular colorectal cancer screenings can also allow physicians to identify cancer that has already progressed. If colorectal cancer is found in the early stages, it may be simpler to treat.

When should you start having colon cancer screenings?

Individuals who have an average risk for colon cancer should start having periodic colon cancer screenings when they turn 45. Individuals with an increased risk might need earlier screenings. Your GI doctor can help you ascertain at what age you should start having colorectal cancer exams.

How often should I get a screening for colon cancer?

The intervals at which you should schedule colon cancer screenings may vary according to the type of evaluation being conducted. Generally, individuals who are 45 and over should have a colonoscopy every ten years when they carry an average risk of developing colorectal cancer and experience normal colonoscopy results. Patients who have a significantly high risk should undergo colonoscopy screenings a minimum of once every five years. To learn how often you should arrange for screening exams for colorectal cancer, please contact your gastroenterologist.

What can I do to prepare for my colon cancer screening?

The preparatory instructions for a colon cancer screening will vary according to the type of screening you're having. With a colonoscopy exam, certain preparatory instructions will be given to you by your gastroenterology team prior to your scheduled exam to clean out your large intestine. There may be specific instructions to follow in the days leading up to your exam. It is essential to follow your provider's instructions to help ensure they can catch any concerns during your screening for colorectal cancer.

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