Colorectal screenings are an important part of preventive healthcare. Colon and rectal cancers present few physical symptoms, and are therefore often difficult to recognize without a screening. At Colon & Rectal Surgical Specialists of New York, we encourage our patients to come to our office regularly for screenings, rather than waiting for a referral from their general physicians. By providing regular colorectal analysis, we are able to detect problems in their earliest stages and treat them more efficiently. To learn more about colorectal screening, contact our Long Island practice.
Types of Colorectal Screenings
After a review of your medical history and a thorough examination, the CRSSNY team will recommend testing that fits your specific symptoms and needs. Screening options include:
Colonoscopy - Patients receive sedation from a board-certified anesthesiologist before the colorectal surgeon gently threads a thin, flexible tube called a colonoscope into the anus. The colonoscope contains a small video camera, allowing us to examine the entire colon. This procedure can involve removing any suspicious-looking polyps or potentially cancerous tissues during the test. Patients usually report feeling no discomfort during or after the procedure.
Fecal occult blood test - A fecal occult blood test is a non-invasive screening in which stool is checked for blood that is undetectable to the human eye. The CRSSNY team sends a collection kit and instructions home with the patient, and the sample is later returned for study. If the test detects blood, we may recommend further screening. However, the blood test can return a false positive, depending on what a patient eats in the days leading up to the test. Some foods known to create a false positive include horseradish, rare red meat, some raw vegetables, iron supplements, and aspirin. The presence of hemorrhoids also may trigger a false positive. We perform a careful analysis to determine if this screening is the best recommendation.
Virtual colonoscopy - Advanced technology allows our team to examine the colon and rectum with a CT scan, eliminating the need for a scope or sedation. However, if the screening detects polyps, cancer, or other abnormalities, we cannot remove any tissues during the procedure. In addition, a virtual colonoscopy requires a full bowel preparation.
Flexible sigmoidoscopy - Similar to a colonoscopy, this test also uses an endoscope. However, this exam focuses on the lower colon. The advantages of this type of screening include being able to detect polyps earlier than a fecal occult blood test. This test has limitations and is usually not recommended if our surgeons suspect that polyps are present in the upper colon.
Barium enema - Patients receive an enema filled with liquid to increase visibility using X-rays. Our specialists study the X-ray film for any abnormalities.
Candidates for Screenings
We recommend everyone receive colon cancer screenings by the age of 50. However, you may want to begin screening sooner if you have:
- Previously detected colorectal cancer
- Previously detected large polyps
- A close family member
- Ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease
- A family member with hereditary colon cancer such as Lynch Syndrome or FAP
Schedule a Consultation
Colorectal screenings could save your life. Contact CRSSNY today to schedule your appointment.