Colon cancer is a disruptive disorder that affects the quality of life of many people every year. Routine colon cancer screening can help your physician detect cancer early, increasing your chances of recovery. Lone Star Gastroenterology offers various screening procedures, including virtual colonoscopies and stool sample tests. Each test has its upsides and downsides, which your Austin gastroenterologist will discuss before determining a test that works for you. Medical experts recommend regular colon cancer screening tests for people above 50 years.

Preparation for colon cancer screening

Colon cancer screening consists of several screening procedures that can detect colon cancer before you even start experiencing symptoms. Medical experts recommend regular screenings, which can help your doctor detect cancer early and increase your chances of successful treatment. During your initial appointment, your doctor will discuss the various tests of colon screening tests before suggesting the most appropriate one. They may recommend a stool test or a colonoscopy depending on your preferences. If you choose a colonoscopy, the Lone Star Gastroenterology team will guide you in preparing for the test. You may need to make a few dietary adjustments a few days before the procedure and ingest a laxative the day before the test. Adherence to your provider’s instructions is crucial to ensure accurate results.

What to expect during a colonoscopy

During your appointment, your provider will administer anesthesia to ensure you don’t experience discomfort during the procedure. Afterward, they will utilize a special camera to examine your colon for signs of colon cancer or polyps. Your doctor may remove the abnormal tissue totally or just a tiny sample for further examination if it is discovered during the treatment. They will then monitor you briefly following the colonoscopy operation to ensure no issues. The complete procedure usually takes between 30 and 60 minutes. Most patients can resume their normal activities quickly after the surgery, while some may have brief discomfort or bloating.

What to expect during stool sample tests

The upside of this screening test is that you can perform it in the comfort of your home and send the stool to the laboratory for examination. However, these tests don’t provide detailed results like colonoscopies. The team checks your stool for signs of cancer, such as specific cancer DNA markers and bleeding. The different types of stool sample tests include:

  • A fecal occult blood test

This test detects blood in the stool. You may need to provide three samples from three different bowel movements for more accurate results.

  • Stool gene testing

The specialists look for altered DNA that can signify colon cancer’s presence. This test requires only one sample of your stool. Your doctor may recommend taking this test once after every three years.

  • A fecal immunochemical test

In this test, you will place your stool samples in tubes of liquid before sending them to the lab for analysis. If the results show the presence of blood, your physician may recommend additional tests, such as a colonoscopy.

For more information about colon cancer screening, call the Lone Star Gastroenterology office or use the online scheduling button to create an appointment.

By Alexander James

Beau Alexander James: Beau, a mental health advocate, shares personal stories, coping strategies, and promotes mental health awareness and understanding.