When you reach a certain age, although you may be relatively healthy, you may start to worry about your risks of various types of cancer, such as colorectal cancer. If so--and especially if you are over the age of 45 and have other risk factors for colorectal cancer, such as a family history of the disease or a history of heavy alcohol use--you should seriously consider having a doctor perform the following screening tests so that any cancer growth can be detected in its early stages.
1. Fecal Occult Blood Testing
The first colorectal screening test is the easiest one to get. The fecal occult blood test involves testing your stool for occult, or hidden, blood. This test is performed either on a sample you bring into your doctor or one they obtain by doing a digital exam of your rectum.
If blood is found during this test, it usually indicates that there is some erosion of the mucosal lining of your large intestine or colon. While this hidden bleeding can also be caused by other conditions, such as ulcerative colitis, it can also be an early warning sign of cancer. If occult blood is found, further testing is often needed to find the exact cause.
2. Routine Colonoscopy
Another routine screening test for colorectal cancer allows the doctor to get a direct view of the inside lining of your rectum and colon. During the colonoscopy, a scope is fed into your large intestine that projects images onto a screen.
Most often, you are sedated for this procedure. This is to ensure that you are more comfortable while you are being examined. The end of the scope is also well lubricated to ensure ease of insertion.
While the test is going on, the doctor examines the condition of the mucosal lining, as well as searches for any unusual growths or polyps. If any are found, a biopsy can then be performed on a small amount of tissue to determine whether cancer cells are present or if there is another cause. If cancer cells are found, then further testing is typically ordered by the doctor.
As you get older, your risk for colorectal and other forms of cancer increases, so it is vital to be screened as recommended by your doctor so that anything suspicious can be further investigated and treated. For more information about important age-appropriate cancer screenings, contact a preventative medicine service, like Dr Sanaz Khorrami, M.D.
As an adult in my 50s, I find that my body isn't as strong as it used to be. But I don't let that stop me from enjoying life! In fact, I make every effort to get the treatments I need from my doctor to improve my health. I know that I'm not a senior yet, but I do all I can to prevent the health problems that affect that age group. Because of this, I put together a health blog for people over age 50. My blog isn't a review of what you can easily find on the Internet. It's a plethora of unique information designed to help you find the services you need fast. What my blog doesn't do is tell you what to do for your health. Instead, it offers guidance and options. Please, enjoy the blog and happy reading.