How are you tested for colon cancer?
Colonoscopy. A colonoscopy allows the doctor to look inside the entire rectum and colon while a patient is sedated. A flexible, lighted tube called a colonoscope is inserted into the rectum and the entire colon to look for polyps or cancer.
Would colon cancer show up in blood work?
No blood test can tell you if you have colon cancer. But your doctor may test your blood for clues about your overall health, such as kidney and liver function tests. Your doctor may also test your blood for a chemical sometimes produced by colon cancers (carcinoembryonic antigen, or CEA).
Is colon cancer difficult to diagnose?
The diagnostic process is a challenge in all health systems for many reasons: There are often no specific symptoms; lower abdominal symptoms are very common and mostly related to non-neoplastic diseases, not CRC; diagnosis of CRC is mainly based on colonoscopy, an invasive procedure; and the resource for diagnosis is …
How early does colon cancer need to be detected?
You should begin screening for colorectal cancer soon after turning 45, and then continue getting screened at regular intervals. When colon cancer is found in early stages, the 5 year survival rate is at about 90%.
What was your first colon cancer symptom?
Diarrhea, constipation, or feeling that the bowel does not empty completely. General abdominal discomfort, such as frequent gas pains, bloating, fullness and/or cramps. Constant feeling of fatigue or tiredness. New onset anemia diagnosed on routine lab work.
What does poop look like with colon cancer?
Usually, the stools (poop) of the patients with colon cancer may have the following characteristics: Black poop is a red flag for cancer of the bowel. Blood from in the bowel becomes dark red or black and can make poop stools look like tar. Such poop needs to be investigated further.
How long can bowel cancer go undetected?
Colon cancer is typically slow-growing, starting as a benign polyp that eventually becomes malignant. This process may occur over many years without producing any symptoms. Once colon cancer has developed, it may still be years before it is detected.
Is the poop test as good as a colonoscopy?
The DNA stool test is less sensitive than colonoscopy at detecting precancerous polyps. If abnormalities are found, additional tests might be needed. The tests can suggest an abnormality when none is present (false-positive result).
How do doctors look for colon cancer?
Usually if a suspected colorectal cancer is found by any screening or diagnostic test, it is biopsied during a colonoscopy. In a biopsy, the doctor removes a small piece of tissue with a special instrument passed through the scope. Less often, part of the colon may need to be surgically removed to make the diagnosis.
How can colon cancer be detected without a colonoscopy?
However colonoscopy remains the most sensitive test for colorectal cancer screening and the identification of precancerous polyps. Stool based tests, such as Cologuard or FIT, are reasonable alternatives for patients who are unable or unwilling to undergo a standard colonoscopy.