A look at Colonoscopy and Other Screenings for Colon Cancer

When it comes to colon cancer , colonoscopy is generally regarded as the gold standard of screening, because it has a low rate of false positives and offers the potential for early treatment before abnormal growths called polyps become cancerous. Still, there are a few other screenings that might be recommended in different cases, depending on the age and health history of the patient. This article will take a look at several screening techniques used to prevent or diagnose colon cancer and facilitate early treatment. When colon cancer is diagnosed in its earliest stages through these methods, it has a survival rate of about 90%.


During a colonoscopy , patients are sedated while a special instrument called a colonoscope is guided through the anus and rectum to get a view inside the colon. This instrument has a camera at the end to reveal any polyps that may grow along the lining of the colon. Usually colonoscopy screening is recommended at age 50 with repeat screenings every 10 years. Some physicians—including Dr. Joseph Thornton featured in this video—may recommend screenings more frequently every 6-7 years.

Fecal Occult Blood Tests

Because both cancerous and pre-cancerous polyps can bleed, a High-Sensitivity Fecal Occult Blood Test may be recommended if you have symptoms of polyps such as ongoing constipation or diarrhea, narrow stools, or blood in the stool. The FOBT can detect blood in the stool even when it is not visible

Virtual Colonoscopy

With virtual colonoscopy, a doctor will examine images of the colon taken from outside of the body using CT scans, or computed topography. There is not research to show the effectiveness of virtual colonoscopy for preventing colon cancer deaths, but virtual colonoscopy does provide accurate images of the colon that are on par with those produced in conventional colonoscopy. Unlike conventional colonoscopy, however, the virtual exam cannot be combined with treatment during the exam.

At Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center, you can find comprehensive care for colorectal cancer with screening, treatment, and patient support . To explore our services in greater detail, visit our website or call (702) 233-5300 and speak with one of our registered nurses.

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