Don't Neglect Mammograms out of Fear

What Screening Tests Are Used To Detect Colon Cancer?

Colon cancer does not get the same attention as other cancers, but it is the third most common cancer in the United States. The good news is that this cancer is preventable. Screening tests like a colonoscopy allows you to catch the disease early.  Read on to find out the three best tests to help with detecting colon cancer:

High-Sensitivity Fecal Occult Blood Testing (FOBT)

High-Sensitivity Fecal Occult Blood Testing (FOBT) checks your stool for blood. The two types of FOBT are guaiac FOBT and fecal immunochemical. A chemical is used with guaiac FOBT to check for heme.

Heme makes up a portion of your hemoglobin. For this reason, you have to avoid certain foods like red meats before taking the test. Some foods contain heme and it can be detected with the guaiac FOBT.

The fecal immunochemical test uses antibodies to check your stool for human hemoglobin. It does not require any dietary restrictions before taking your test. Both tests require you to collect stool samples using a kit to return to your doctor.


A sigmoidoscopy uses a sigmoidoscope to check your rectum for abnormal growths. The sigmoidoscope is a flexible lighted tube with a lens. It is used for looking at the inside of your rectum and removing tissues.

The tool is inserted into your sigmoid colon and anus. It also pumps air into your colon so that your doctor can get a better view of the lining of your colon. If the tests detect any abnormal growths, then they are removed during the procedure. Your doctor also require you to empty your lower stool before taking the test. However, patients are not usually sedated during a sigmoidoscopy.

Standard Colonoscopy

A colonoscopy examines your colon using a tool known as a colonoscope. This tool can remove tissues and inserted inside of your rectum. This test is different from a sigmoidoscopy because it can remove your rectum and reach to the upper parts of your colon. A colonoscopy requires that you cleanse your colon before your appointment for the procedure. It also requires you to undergo some type of sedation.

It is important to take control of your health. Taking control starts with living a healthy lifestyle. Eating a healthy diet and regular exercise can decrease your chances of getting colon cancer. It helps to follow a healthy lifestyle while going for screen tests.  Screening tests can help you catch colon cancer in the early stages.

Contact a company such as Northwest Gastroenterology Associates to learn more.