Regular Screenings Save Lives

Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

 Preventing colorectal cancer starts with regular screenings from a trusted provider. In fact, this cancer can sometimes appear asymptomatic until it progresses into a more intensive state. Fortunately, there’s several screening options you and your provider can discuss when it’s time to get screened.

What is colorectal cancer?

Colorectal cancer is cancer that occurs in the colon or rectum, sometimes referred to as “colon cancer.” Abnormal growths, called polyps, can form in the colon or rectum and some of those polyps can turn into cancerous growths.

What are the benefits of receiving a colon cancer screening?

Screening tests help find polyps, so your provider can remove them before they turn cancerous. Finding evidence of colorectal cancer at an early stage is key to determining which treatment works best for you.

 What are the types of screening tests available?

Several types of screenings exist to test for signs of colon cancer. You and your provider will discuss which test is best for you, but here’s a few of the options:

    • Stool Tests – A sample of your stool is needed to test for any presence of unexplained blood, which may hint towards bigger issues occurring in the colon or rectum.
    • Flexible Sigmoidoscopy – Your provider inserts a short, thin, and flexible tube into your rectum to check for polyps or cancer in the lower part of the colon. Test occurs every 5-10 years.
    • Colonoscopy – A more common test, doctors use a long, thin, and flexible tube to check for polyps or cancer inside the rectum and the entire colon. Test occurs every 10 years, if you’re not at high-risk of colon cancer.
    • CT ColonographyComputer tomography (CT) colonography or “a virtual colonoscopy”, uses x-rays and computers to produce images of the entire colon, which are displayed on a computer screen for the doctor to analyze.

What early symptoms may I experience with colorectal cancer?

Tell your doctor if you have any of these symptoms:

    • Blood in your stool (bowel movement)
    • Persistent stomach pain, aches, or cramps
    • Unplanned weight loss

Where can I find out more information about colorectal cancer services at Culbertson?

Culbertson Memorial Hospital provides convenient diagnostic testing including colonoscopies and a full range of other tests along with genetic screening, chemotherapy, and even counseling support.  If you or a loved one wants to learn more, contact us here.