Colon Cancer Screening in Thibodaux, LA

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Colon cancer is often one of the most preventable cancers. Your rectum and colon are located in the large intestine, which absorbs water and nutrients, and stores waste before it's discharged from your body.

A screening for colon cancer is simply searching for polyps and cancerous growths on the inner wall of the colon and rectum when there are no GI problems present. A polyp is a growth that is not cancerous in the colon. Yet, some of these could turn into cancer later. Early detection and removal of colorectal polyps and any cancerous growths can prevent complications as well as death resulting from colon cancer.

Our distinguished GI physicians often perform colon cancer screenings for Thibodaux, LA patients. To request a colon cancer screening, contact your nearest Digestive Health Center location.

Regular screenings for colorectal cancer are essential to your general and digestive health. Some of the advantages of screenings for colorectal cancer involve:

  • Potentially identify colon or rectal cancer in the earlier stages
  • Possibly prevent colon cancer from developing
  • Detect and extract polyps in the rectum and colon
  • Identify other gastrointestinal issues, such as inflammatory bowel disease
  • Can be a life-saving exam

Colon cancer may not show signs or symptoms until the disease advances. Regular screenings can help your doctor diagnose any issues or conditions as soon as possible.

Individuals should talk to their GI specialist at Digestive Health Center regarding when they should get a colon cancer screening and what tests are suggested. Any of the tests listed below could be suggested for a colon cancer screening:

  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy: A sigmoidoscopy is used to view the inside of the lower colon and rectum. A finger-sized thick tube with a camera (sigmoidoscope) will enter the rectum so we can take images of the inside wall as well as 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. Keep in mind that a colonoscopy needs to be done to see the whole colon and get rid of all polyps or tumors. This procedure is fairly safe, but there is a slight chance of a bowel tear, bleeding, and infection.
  • Colonoscopy: A colonoscope is somewhat like a sigmoidoscope, but it is longer and used to examine the inner wall of the entire colon. The colonoscope is put in through your rectum so your doctor can see the images of the entire colon on the monitor. GI tools can be introduced into the colonoscope to take a biopsy and remove polyps. Sedation is required. There is a small risk of bowel tears, bleeding, and/or infection occurring after the procedure.
  • Virtual colonoscopy: Virtual colonoscopy is a computed tomography scan of the colon. We'll have you lie on the table where the CT scanner will take cross-section images of the colon. It is a noninvasive technique and does not require sedation. If we find any abnormalities, a colonoscopy will need to be performed to remove the polyps or tumors.
  • Double-contrast barium enema: A thin tube is inserted into the rectum and then barium sulfate (a chalky white liquid) and air are pumped into the colon. The barium suspension will line the outer walls of the colon. X-rays of the colon are then taken to showcase any abnormalities on the inner wall of the colon. If abnormalities are identified, a colonoscopy will be required to extract the tumors or polyps.
  • Fecal test: These are completed with a fecal sample. Fecal tests may not provide confirmatory results but might suggest abnormalities in your GI tract, suggesting further tests are needed. A colonoscopy should be performed if your results are positive, indicating cancerous growth in your colon.

Our Thibodaux, LA gastroenterologists conduct three different types of fecal tests:

  • Fecal occult blood tests detect blood in the feces not visible to normal eyes through a chemical reaction.
  • Fecal immunochemical tests detect blood through a specific immunochemical reaction of protein in your blood and are often able to detect hidden blood.
  • Stool DNA tests look for certain abnormal DNA genes from the cells discarded from cancerous outgrowth or polyps in a stool sample.

You may be at risk for colon cancer if you meet any of the below criteria:

  • You have had colon cancer previously
  • You have familial adenomatous polyposis, a condition where individuals develop a number of polyps in the colon and rectum
  • You are 45 or older
  • You have an inactive lifestyle, unhealthy eating habits, or smoke
  • You have close family members who have or had colon cancer
  • You have ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease
  • You have a history of breast, ovarian, or uterine cancer

With regular testing, colorectal cancer is often preventable and easy to detect in its early stages. If you are over 45 or if you've had other conditions that increase your chances of colon cancer, you can book your colon cancer screening. As a physician-led team of GI specialists who work with a patient-first outlook, Digestive Health Center uses the most innovative technology to maintain your digestive health. To learn more about colorectal cancer screenings in Thibodaux, LA, contact your nearest location to request a consultation.

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Why is having colon cancer screenings important?

Colorectal cancer commonly develops from irregular growths in the colon or rectum called polyps. With a colonoscopy, these premalignant growths can be extracted to help lower the risk of and potentially even prevent the development of colon cancer. Having regular screenings for colon cancer can also allow providers to diagnose cancer that has already developed. When colon or rectal cancer is found early on, it can be easier to address.

When should I begin having colon cancer screenings?

Patients who are at average risk for the disease should start having periodic screenings for colorectal cancer at age 45. People who have an increased risk may require screenings before this age. Your GI physician can help you determine when you should start having screenings for colorectal cancer.

How frequently should you have a screening for colon cancer?

The frequency with which people should undergo colon cancer screenings may depend on the test being performed. In general, people who are age 45 and over should undergo a colonoscopy every ten years when they are at average risk for colon cancer and experience normal colonoscopy results. Those with a significantly high risk should have colonoscopy screenings at least once every five years. Please consult your GI provider for more information on how often you should arrange for a colon cancer screening.

How should I prepare for a colorectal cancer screening?

The preparatory instructions for a colorectal cancer screening will be based on the type of screening you are having. When undergoing a colonoscopy, your GI team will provide specific preparatory instructions to clean out your bowel before your procedure. Your doctor may also provide additional instructions to follow for several days leading up to your screening. It is essential to comply with your gastroenterologist's instructions to help ensure they can find any issues during your screening for colon cancer.

My Colonoscopy went very well. The nurses explained everything very well and were a pleasure to talk to. The facility was very spacious and clean. Awesome experience!

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