Colon Cancer Screening in San Antonio, TX
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What is a colon cancer screening?
Colon cancer is typically one of the most preventable cancers. Your colon and rectum are located in the large intestine, which absorbs water and nutrients from digested food, and holds waste before it is discharged from the body.
A screening for colon cancer is simply the process of checking for polyps and cancerous growths on the inside wall of the rectum and colon when there are no gastrointestinal problems present. A polyp is a noncancerous growth in the colon; however, these have the possibility of developing into cancer in the future. Early detection and removal of colorectal polyps and any cancerous growths can reduce the risk of issues and/or death caused by colon cancer.
Our skilled GI specialists routinely perform colon cancer screenings for San Antonio, TX residents. To schedule a colon cancer screening, contact a San Antonio Gastroenterology Associates location today.
What are the benefits of colon cancer screenings?
Regular screenings for colon cancer are essential to your general and gastrointestinal health. Several benefits of screenings for colorectal cancer include:
- Possibly find colon or rectal cancer in the earlier stages
- Potentially prevent colon cancer from developing
- Find and remove polyps in the rectum and colon
- Detect other GI conditions, like IBD
- Can be a life-saving exam
Colon and rectal cancer may not carry signs or symptoms until the disease progresses. Regular screenings can help your doctor diagnose any issues as soon as possible.
What colon cancer screening options are available?
It's important to ask your GI specialist at San Antonio Gastroenterology Associates about when you should go for a colon cancer screening and about what tests to have. The tests listed below may be suggested for a colon cancer screening:
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy: A sigmoidoscopy is used to look at the inside of the rectum and lower colon. A tube about the size of a finger with a camera attached (called a sigmoidoscope) will be placed in your rectum, so we can get images of the inner wall and part of the colon. It can be used for taking a biopsy of the polyp or tumor and removing some polyps. But a colonoscopy needs to be completed to get a look at all of the colon and remove all polyps and tumors. This procedure is fairly safe but has a small risk of the bowel tearing, bleeding, and getting infected.
- Colonoscopy: A colonoscope is somewhat like a sigmoidoscope, except it is longer and is used to examine the inner wall of the entire colon. It is placed in and moved through your rectum, so the provider can see the images of the entire colon on the monitor. Special tools will be introduced into the colonoscope to take the biopsy and extract polyps. A form of sedation will be required. There is a slight chance of the bowel tearing, bleeding, and infection due to the procedure.
- Virtual colonoscopy: Virtual colonoscopy is a CT scan of your colon. You are asked to lay down on the table where the CT scanner will take cross-section images of your colon. It is a noninvasive treatment and doesn't require you to be sedated. If we find any abnormalities, a colonoscopy will have to be completed to remove the polyps or tumors.
- Double-contrast barium enema: A small tube is inserted into the rectum and barium sulfate, which is a white chalky liquid, and air will be pumped into your colon. The barium suspension will line the outer walls of your colon. X-rays of the colon will then be taken to reveal any abnormalities on the inner wall of your colon. If abnormalities are identified, a colonoscopy will be required to remove the polyps or tumors.
- Fecal test: These are performed with a fecal sample and are totally safe. Fecal tests may not give confirmed results but can suggest abnormalities in your GI tract, indicating the need for more testing. A colonoscopy should be performed if results are positive, indicating the presence of cancerous growths in your colon. Our San Antonio, TX gastroenterologists perform three various types of fecal tests:
- Stool DNA tests look for specific abnormal DNA genes from the cells discarded from cancerous growths or polyps in a stool sample.
- Fecal occult blood tests detect blood in the feces which isn't visible to normal eyes through a chemical reaction.
- Fecal immunochemical tests detect blood not visible to the naked eye through a specific immunochemical reaction of protein in your blood.
Who is at risk for colorectal cancer?
Certain people may be at a higher risk of developing colorectal cancer. Some risk factors include the following:
- Individuals with familial adenomatous polyposis, a condition where a number of polyps develop in their colon and rectum
- Patients with an inactive lifestyle, unhealthy eating habits, and/or who smoke
- Patients with ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease
- People who had colon cancer previously
- Patients with immediate family members such as parents, siblings, or children who have or had colon cancer
- Women with a history of uterine, breast, or ovarian cancer
- Patients over 45-years-old
Schedule your colon cancer screening
With routine checks, colorectal cancer can be easily detected and preventable in the early stages. If you're over 45 or have had prior conditions that increase your risk of colon cancer, you should schedule a colorectal cancer screening. A physician-led team of gastroenterologists who work with a patient-centric approach, San Antonio Gastroenterology Associates uses leading technology to maintain your digestive health. To schedule a colorectal cancer screening in San Antonio, TX, contact one of our locations today.
Colon Cancer Screening FAQs
Why is having colon cancer screenings important?
Colon cancer commonly arises from irregular growths in the colon or rectum referred to as polyps. With a colonoscopy, these precancerous polyps can be extracted to help decrease the chance of and possibly even prevent the development of colorectal cancer. Routine screenings for colorectal cancer may also help identify cancer that has already progressed. If colorectal cancer is detected in the early stages, it can be simpler to address.
When should I begin colon cancer screenings?
Individuals who are at average risk should start periodic colon cancer screenings at 45. Patients who carry a greater risk might need earlier screenings. Your GI physician can help you determine when you should begin your screenings for colon cancer.
How frequently should I have a colon cancer screening?
The intervals at which patients should undergo colon cancer screenings may depend on the type of test being conducted. Typically, people who are 45 and over should undergo a colonoscopy screening once every decade when they are of average risk of developing colon or rectal cancer and experience normal colonoscopy results. Patients with a significantly high risk should undergo colonoscopy screenings a minimum of once every five years. To determine how frequently you should schedule screenings for colon cancer, please talk to your GI doctor.
What can I do to prepare for a colorectal cancer screening?
The recommended preparatory instructions for a colorectal cancer screening will vary according to the type of screening you are having. When having a colonoscopy exam, detailed information on how to prepare will be provided to you by your gastroenterology team prior to your procedure to clear out your bowel. Your gastroenterologist may also provide additional instructions to follow for several days leading up to your screening. It is vital to abide by your doctor’s instructions to help make certain they can find any concerns when conducting your screening for colorectal cancer.
I have been a patient here for almost 10 yrs ago. Was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2011. Dr. Jeff Bullock has always been on top that this dies not return. Therefore, I get checked very often. I recommend that you should get a colonoscopy at least every five yrs.
Dr. Kadakia diagnosed my husband's colon cancer 8 years ago and we still see him to this day for follow ups. He is kind, attentive, and eager to answer questions. I highly recommend this physician.
Dr.Flores is awesome very professional I had the pleasure of meeting him years ago with my 1st husband health care when he was diagnosed with Colin cancer he was very caring and good with referral for medical attention.unfortunately he lost his battle with colon cancer with other medical complications.My now husband was referred to him for a colonoscopy at his Dr.visit my husband was very nervous and very unaware of the particular procedure after his consultation with Dr. Flores he felt at ease he explained the procedure and while in the waiting room had very useful and important information playing in office while we waited briefly .he seemed much comfortable and is ready for his procedure
Dr Ramirez saved my life awhile back. Dr Ramirez performed a colonoscopy on me in December, 2017. Prior to the colonoscopy, she ordered blood work be done. She was very concerned about the numbers for my liver and referred me to a liver specialist. It turns out that I had both liver cancer and cirrhosis of the liver. She helped catch it in time for me to get a liver transplant on 5/19/2019 and I am doing well today. My primary care doctor had mentioned that my liver numbers were somewhat high but he kept saying let’s keep and I on it. I am convinced that Dr. Ramirez saved my life with her attention to detail. She has also kept colon cancer away more than a once. I have been seeing her for about 15 years now and will never change gastroenterologists.
If anyone is in search of a Gastroenterologist... Dr. Kevin Franklin is an angel!!! I Souder with sever anxiety and had to go through stage 3 colon cancer in 2016. Dr. Franklin has been by my side and has treated me with such kindness and patience. Colonoscopies still every year and I never ever feel anxious about the procedures with him. Now the outcome is nerve-wrecking, but he is extremely gentle and always so incredibly thorough. I recommend anyone with any issues or just annual scope time, to have Dr Franklin be that experience with you. There aren't very many doctors that truly truly listen and not want rush you in and out of the office; who are personable and caring. Dr. Franklin is a gem. He has been such a blessing to me. I know just the same, anyone would be blessed by his knowledge, skill, and gift in this field. Ps. His staff from front desk to PA and nurse are fabulous!!!