Is There an Alternative to a Colonoscopy? | American News Update

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Is There an Alternative to a Colonoscopy?

Is There an Alternative to a Colonoscopy?
July 16
16:16 2018 Once we reach the age of 40 or 50, we are all recommended to have a colonoscopy to screen for
colorectal cancer and there is a good reason for the screening.

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer among both men and women in the United
States. This year, the American Cancer Society estimates that there will be about 43,030 new cases
of rectal cancer and 97,220 cases of colon cancer diagnosed in the US. The chances of developing
colorectal cancer is estimated to be about 1 in 22 for men and 1 in 24 for women. They also estimate
that about 50,630 people in America will die this year from colorectal cancer.

The reason for the screening is because if caught early enough, most cases of colorectal cancer can
be successfully treated.

The standard screening for colorectal cancer is a procedure known as a colonoscopy. Before the
procedure begins, the person has to fast, drink only clear liquids for at least 12-24 hours in advance.
Then they are given some sort of preparation to make sure there is nothing in the large intestine. This
prep usually gives one a strong acquaintance with their toilet.

Once cleaned out, the person is usually given a light sedation to help them relax and eliminate any
discomfort as the doctor pumps air into your colon to inflate it as he or she inserts a tube about half
an inch in diameter up your rectum and through the length of your colon. The tube has a light and
camera that allows the doctor to see if there are any polyps (growths) or other abnormalities in the
lining of the colon. Generally, they have the ability to remove the polyps during the same procedure.
Depending on what is found in your first colonoscopy and your family history, your doctor will want
you to have a colonoscopy every 5 or 10 years.

The first time I had the procedure, the doctor didn’t give me anything and the discomfort was
excruciating, but the last one I had wasn’t that bad. The worst part is the prep of having to clean out
the bowels.

Many people avoid colonoscopies mostly due to the prep than the actual procedure. So, are there
alternative tests that can be done and if so, how accurate are they?

According to one medical source there are 7 alternatives.

1. Sigmoidoscope – similar to a colonoscopy, including the preparation, but the scope doesn’t go
as far inside, checking only a small portion of the colon.

2. CT colonoscopy – this procedure uses an x-ray to exam the colon, but it also requires a similar
preparation as that of a colonoscopy. It also does not provide as nearly a detailed look at the
colon as a using a scope inside does

3. Stool DNA – samples of the stool are examined for blood and cancer via DNA testing.

4. Cologuard – a specific test that is easily used at home. The person dips a special paper into
the water after having a bowel movement and then that is mailed in to a center that tests the
sample. The procedure is approved by the FDA and can detect the presence of cancer and
polyps. Using this procedure, it is recommended to be repeated every 3 years.

5. Fecal Immunochemical Tests (FIT) – consists of a small kit to collect a fecal sample that is
then tested for any blood in the stool. Recommended to be repeated every year.

6. Fecal Occult Blood Tests (FOBT) – combines the FIT with a blood test.

7. Double Contrast Barium Enema – requires similar preparation as a colonoscopy. The person is
given a contrast barium enema and then is x-rayed to examine for any abnormalities. If any are
found the person will need a colonoscopy for further examination and removal of any polyps.

Yes, there are alternatives, but some are just as unpleasant and require the same cleaning our
preparation. If your doctor is pushing you to have a colonoscopy, ask about the alternatives,
especially Cologuard.

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