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Colorectal Cancer : Facts on Screening

By Department of Health and Human Services

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Book Id: WPLBN0000010324
Format Type: PDF eBook
File Size: 0.2 MB
Reproduction Date: 2005
Full Text

Title: Colorectal Cancer : Facts on Screening  
Author: Department of Health and Human Services
Language: English
Subject: Health., Medical research, Medical reports
Collections: Medical Library Collection
Publication Date:
Publisher: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


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Health And Human Services, D. O. (n.d.). Colorectal Cancer : Facts on Screening. Retrieved from

Screening Tests Several tests are available to screen for colorectal cancer. Some are used alone, while others are used in combination with each other. Talk with your doctor about which is best for you. Here's a description of each: Fecal Occult Blood Test – This test checks for occult (hidden) blood in the stool. You receive a test kit from your doctor or health care provider. At home, you place a small amount of your stool from three bowel movements in a row on test cards. You return the cards to your doctor’s office or a lab, where the stool samples are tested for hidden blood. Flexible Sigmoidoscopy – This test allows the doctor to examine the lining of your rectum and lower part of your colon using a thin, flexible, lighted tube called a sigmoidoscope. It is inserted into your rectum and lower part of the colon. Combination of Fecal Occult Blood Test and Flexible Sigmoidoscopy – Some experts recommend combining both tests, to increase the chance of finding polyps and cancers. Colonoscopy – This test is similar to flexible sigmoidoscopy, except it allows the doctor to examine the lining of your rectum and entire colon using a thin, flexible, lighted tube called a colonoscope. It is inserted into your rectum and colon. The doctor can find and remove most polyps and some cancers. Double Contrast Barium Enema – This test allows the doctor to see an x-ray image of the rectum and entire colon. First you receive an enema with a liquid called barium that flows from a tube into the colon, followed by an air enema. The barium and air create an outline around your colon, allowing the doctor to see if abnormalities are present. The Bottom Line If you are 50 or older, get screened regularly for colorectal cancer. For more information, visit or call the National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Information Service: 1-800-4-CANCER. For TTY, call 1-800-332-8615. To find out about Medicare coverage, call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). What is Colorectal Cancer? Colorectal cancer is cancer that develops in the colon or rectum. It’s the second leading cancer killer in the U.S., but it doesn’t have to be. If everyone age 50 and older had regular colorectal cancer screening tests, more than one third of deaths from this cancer could be avoided. Colorectal Cancer Facts and Figures -- It’s the 2nd leading cancer killer in the U.S. (after lung cancer). -- Both men and women are at risk. -- 93% of cases occur in people age 50 and older. -- The risk of developing it increases with age. How Screening Saves Lives Colorectal cancer almost always develops from precancerous polyps (abnormal growths) in the colon or rectum. Screening tests can find polyps, so they can be removed before they turn into cancer. Screening tests can also find colorectal cancer early, when treatment works best. When Should I Begin Screening? You should begin screening for colorectal cancer soon after turning 50, then continue at regular intervals. However, you may need to be tested earlier or more often than other people if: You or a close relative have had colorectal polyps or cancer, or -- You have inflammatory bowel disease. Talk to your doctor about when you should begin screening and how often you should be tested. Does Colorectal Cancer Have Symptoms? Polyps and colorectal cancer do not always cause symptoms, especially at first. But sometimes there are symptoms, such as: Blood in or on your stool -- Unexplained and frequent pain, aches, or cramps in your stomach -- A change in bowel habits, such as having stools that are narrower than usual; and -- Unexplained weight loss. If you have any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor. These symptoms may also be caused by something other than cancer, but the only way to know what is causing them is to see your doctor. Colon and Rectum...

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