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Colorectal Cancer Screening

Colorectal Cancer (CRC) is a disease that often develops from precancerous polyps in the colon or rectum. Studies show that regular screenings for colorectal cancer improve survival rates and reduce the number of CRC-related deaths. Detecting disease early helps to prevent CRC from occurring and can optimize treatment outcomes.

Screening for Colorectal Cancer symptoms

  • Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) for Colorectal Cancer
    • Simple, painless and user friendly, this test can be done in the comfort of your own home. It uses antibodies to detect even the smallest traces of blood in the stool, a possible indication for CRC.
    • Our FIT test does not diagnose cancer; rather its usefulness is that it can detect blood in the stool, a symptom of CRC. However, blood in the stool can also be due to a number of benign causes, including polyps, hemorrhoids, rectal fissures and/or stomach ulcers. It is important to review your test results with your health care provider to determine the cause and to identify if further diagnostic testing is needed.

Who should get a FIT test?

  • People 50 and older who are at average risk for the disease
  • Earlier testing is recommended if you, or a close relative, has had colorectal polyps or cancer*, if you have inflammatory bowel or Crohn’s disease, or if you have genetic syndromes such as familial adenomatous polyposis or hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer.
  • Patients who are heavy smokers or extremely obese should consult with their physician for appropriate screening guidelines.

*A family history of polyps does not necessarily indicate the need for earlier testing unless the polyps are suspected to be adenomas.

How often should I get a FIT test?

  • The American College of Gastroenterology recommends annual screening with the FIT detection test, particularly for those who decline or do not have access to colonoscopy screenings.
  • It is recommended that average-risk patients have a colonoscopy every 10 years beginning at age 50.

*Recommended guidelines only. Consult with your physician.

Warning signs

In its earliest stages, CRC usually presents without pain or symptoms. It is possible to have polyps for years and not know it. Symptoms of CRC may include:

  • Blood in or on your stool
  • Constant stomach pain, cramps or aches
  • Unexplainable weight loss

Risk factors

Approximately 75 percent of CRC occurs in people without any risk factors. The risk for CRC increases with age, with more than 90 percent of all CRC cases occurring in people over 50 years of age. Other risk factors include:

  • Inflammatory bowel disease or Crohn’s disease
  • A personal or family history of CRC polyps or disease
  • A genetic syndrome such as familial adenomatous polyposis or hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer
  • Heavy cigarette smoking
  • Lack of regular exercise
  • Obesity
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • A diet low in fiber and high in fat with limited fruit and vegetable intake.

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