Colorectal Cancer Screening & Prevention
Colorectal cancer early detection tests
Colorectal cancer is usually slow-growing can often be found early, when it is likely to be cured. Screening tools for colorectal cancer include:
- Fecal occult blood test (looking for hidden blood in the stool)
- Stool DNA testing
- Virtual colonoscopy, which uses CT scanning to look for growths in the colon and rectum
- Colonoscopy, the best way and "gold standard" for screening and diagnosing colorectal cancer
The value of colonoscopy
The gastroenterologists at the Weill Cornell Medicine Meyer Cancer Center at NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital are highly experienced in the performance of colonoscopy to detect colorectal cancers. During this procedure, a narrow scope with a camera is inserted into the rectum and colon (while you are sedated) to look for signs of colorectal cancer, including polyps. Not only can the doctor find these growths, but he or she can remove them at the same time — possibly preventing colorectal cancer from developing by taking out polyps that could potentially grow to become cancers. The tissue that is removed is examined to determine if it is cancerous. Not all polyps are cancer, but the only way to know is to remove and biopsy them.
Who should be screened for colorectal cancer?
The American Cancer Society recommends that adults at average risk of colorectal cancer begin regular screening for colorectal cancer at age 45 with either a high-sensitivity stool test or colonoscopy. People with an increased risk of colorectal cancer may begin screening sooner and/or have it more frequently.
Some genetic syndromes are associated with a higher risk of colorectal cancer and can be passed on through multiple generations of a family. The Meyer Cancer Center offers genetic counseling to assess your risk and develop a surveillance plan to manage your risk and the risk in your family members.