Colon Cancer Screening in Little Rock, AR
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What is a colon cancer screening?
Colon and rectal cancer is typically one of the more avoidable cancers. The colon and rectum make up the large intestine, which absorbs water and nutrients from digested food, and holds solid waste prior to it being released from your body.
A colon cancer screening is the process of searching for polyps and cancer on the inner wall of the colon and rectum when no gastrointestinal symptoms exist. A polyp is a noncancerous growth in the colon. Some of these may turn into cancer later. Early detection and removal of polyps and any cancerous tumors can minimize the risk of issues and death resulting from colon cancer.
Our distinguished GI physicians commonly perform colorectal cancer screenings for Little Rock, AR patients. To arrange for a screening, please contact GastroArkansas.
What are the benefits of colon cancer screenings?
Regular screenings for colorectal cancer are imperative for your general and digestive health. The advantages of colon cancer screenings can involve:
- Detect and remove polyps in the colon and rectum
- Possibly catch colorectal cancer earlier
- Potentially prevent colon or rectal cancer from developing
- Identify other GI concerns, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
- Can be a life-saving screening
Cancer of the colon or rectum may not produce signs or symptoms until the disease progresses. Having screenings on a routine basis can help identify any concerns or conditions as early as possible.
Are there colon cancer screening options?
Individuals should ask their GI specialist at GastroArkansas about when to go to the colon cancer screening and what tests are suggested. One or more of the tests listed below might be used for a colon cancer screening:
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy: A sigmoidoscopy is used to view the inside of the rectum and lower colon. A tube about the size of a finger that has a camera (called a sigmoidoscope) will enter your rectum so we can get images of the inner wall as well as part of your colon. It can be used to take a biopsy of the tumor or polyp and get rid of some polyps. However, a colonoscopy will need to be done to view all of the colon and extract all tumors or polyps. It is generally pretty safe but there is a minimal chance of the bowel tearing, bleeding, and infection.
- Colonoscopy: A colonoscope is somewhat like a sigmoidoscope, except it is longer and is used to review the inside of the entire colon. The colonoscope is put in through your rectum and the GI specialist can see a full view of the colon on our computer system. Specific tools will be passed through the colonoscope to take the biopsy and remove polyps. Sedation is required. There is a minimal risk of bowel tears, bleeding, and/or infection occurring after the procedure.
- Virtual colonoscopy: This is a computed tomography scan of your colon. We'll have you lie on the treatment table where the CT scanner will take cross-section images of your colon. This is a noninvasive treatment and does not call for any sedation. If we find any abnormalities, a colonoscopy will need to be done to remove the polyps or tumors.
- Double-contrast barium enema: A little tube is placed into the rectum and barium sulfate, which is a liquid that is white and chalky, and air will be pumped into your colon. The barium suspension will line the outer walls of your colon. X-rays of the colon are then taken to showcase any abnormalities on the inner wall of your colon. If abnormalities are identified, a colonoscopy needs to be done to extract the polyps or tumors.
- Fecal test: Fecal tests are done with a fecal sample and are very safe. Fecal tests might not give confirmatory results but might suggest abnormalities in the gastrointestinal tract, calling for further testing. A colonoscopy needs to be repeated if your results are positive, indicating cancerous growths in your colon. Our Little Rock, AR gastroenterologists offer three types of fecal tests:
- Stool DNA tests look for certain abnormal DNA genes in the cells shed from cancerous outgrowth or polyps in your stool sample.
- Fecal immunochemical tests detect blood through a specific immunochemical reaction of protein in the blood and can detect hidden blood.
- Fecal occult blood tests can detect blood in the feces not visible to the eye through a chemical reaction.
Who may be at risk for colorectal cancer?
- People who have close family members such as parents, siblings, or children who have had colon cancer
- Women with a history of ovarian, uterine, or breast cancer
- Patients who have familial adenomatous polyposis, a condition where patients develop a number of polyps in their rectum and colon
- People with ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease
- Patients who had colon cancer earlier in their life
- Individuals with an inactive lifestyle, unhealthy eating habits, and/or who smoke
- Individuals over the age of 45
Schedule your colorectal cancer screening today
With regular checks, colon cancer is easy to detect and prevent in the early stages. If you are over 45 or if you have had additional conditions that raise your chances of colon cancer, you can reserve your colorectal cancer screening. A physician-led group of gastroenterologists who operate with a patient-centric attitude, GastroArkansas utilizes the most innovative technology to support your digestive health. To learn more about a colon cancer screening in Little Rock, AR, contact our facility soon.
Colon Cancer Screening FAQs
Why is having colon cancer screenings important?
Cancer of the colon commonly starts from abnormal growths in the large intestine (colon) or rectum known as polyps. With a colonoscopy, these premalignant polyps can be identified and removed to help reduce the risk of and possibly prevent colorectal cancer development. Having regular colon cancer screenings can also allow physicians to diagnose cancer that has already progressed. If colon or rectal cancer is identified early on, it can be easier to address.
At what age should you begin undergoing colon cancer screenings?
It is advised that people at average risk start having regular screenings for colon cancer at age 45. Adults carrying a more significant risk might need to screen even earlier. Your gastrointestinal specialist can help you determine at what age you should begin undergoing screenings for colon cancer.
How often should I get a colon cancer screening?
The timeframes with which adults should have colon cancer screenings can depend on the exam being performed. Generally, patients who are 45 and over should undergo a colonoscopy every decade when they carry an average risk for colorectal cancer and have colonoscopy results that are within normal limits. Individuals with a significantly high risk are advised to undergo colonoscopy screenings at least once every five years. To learn how frequently you should have a colon cancer screening, please consult your gastrointestinal specialist.
What can I do to prepare for my colon cancer screening?
The preparation process for a colon cancer screening will vary according to the type of screening received. For a colonoscopy exam, specific information on how to prepare and clean out your bowel will be given by your GI team before your scheduled procedure. Your GI specialist may also give you certain instructions to follow in the days leading up to your exam. It is important to comply with your gastroenterologist's directions to help make sure they can observe any issues during your colon cancer screening.
Dr. Backstedt has been taking excellent care of me since since he confirmed my colon cancer in 2017. He is an excellent doctor who is also kind, caring and wonderfully down to earth. I wouldn't consider anyone else. Susan Maddox
Her APN scheduled a colonoscopy after I told her I was having constipation. Dr Morrison then found colon cancer.
I have always trusted Dr. Johnson with my medical care. Colon cancer is in my family, and he goes above and beyond to see that I am screened properly and well taken care of! Gastro Arkansas and Dr. Johnson are excellent.
During our pre procedure interview, Dr. Stokes was very clear about how and where everything was to take place. I have experienced Colon Cancer, was operated on and have been having colonoscopies every 3 years to insure the cancer was cleared and no sign of recurrence. Doctor Stokes and the nursing staff present were very kind an understanding. The procedure went through without hitch. Vey professional, pain free, and Dr. Stokes took the time to assure me that all went well.