The first step towards colorectal cancer prevention is a screening test. A colon cancer screening test can help find precancerous polyps, so they can be removed before they become cancerous. Screening tests can also find colon cancer early when treatment is most effective.
There are several types of colon cancer screening tests that individuals can choose from. Ultimately, the right screening option will depend on patient preference, family history, and the likelihood of compliance. Learn more about choosing the right screening method in this week’s blog.
The importance of colon cancer screening
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the third most common cause of cancer-related death in the United States . Fortunately, this disease can largely be prevented with regular screening. When found early, colon cancer is highly treatable.
Despite the benefits of screening, many people either have never had a colon cancer screening test or are not up to date with screening. Although compliance rates with screening recommendations have increased by 10% over the last 10 years, only 65% of eligible adults currently comply . Choosing the right colon cancer screening option can help increase screening compliance rates to improve population health outcomes.
Choosing a colon cancer screening option
Choosing a colon cancer screening method is an important and personalized decision. Patients should have a discussion with their healthcare provider so that the right test can be done at the right time. Colonoscopies and fecal immunochemical testing (FIT) are two of the most commonly used colon cancer screening methods in the United States. While both are viable options, there are pros and cons to each that individuals should consider.
A colonoscopy is a procedure that involves a doctor using a colonoscope or scope to look inside your rectum and colon for abnormalities and disease. Colonoscopies are invasive, operator-dependent, and more expensive, but they can detect and remove polyps during the same procedure.
Although many consider colonoscopies to be the “gold standard” screening method, many people aren’t willing to undergo the procedure. Obstacles to colonoscopy engagement include unpleasant "bowel prep" that involves fasting for hours and taking a powerful bowel-clearing substance, the fear of undergoing sedation, needing to take time off of work, and transportation concerns.
A fecal immunochemical test (FIT) is a diagnostic tool that can screen for colon cancer by detecting hidden blood in the stool. The best tests use CLIA-certified labs and provide results quickly.
FIT is noninvasive but should be done yearly for optimal performance and, if positive, must be followed by a colonoscopy. At-home testing kits are a good alternative for those who can't or won't do the bowel prep necessary for a colonoscopy. This can aid in increasing compliance rates and increase the number of people who are up-to-date with recommended screening.
Make screening easy with LetsGetChecked
The best screening test is the one that gets done. LetsGetChecked’s Colon Cancer Screening (FIT) Solution makes it easy for members of your population to receive health insights that play a vital role in the route to colorectal cancer diagnosis. This convenient, noninvasive stool analysis can encourage members to take the first important step in detecting colon cancer early. Our comprehensive solution involves screening, virtual consultations, and support throughout every step of the process. Together we can increase colorectal cancer screening rates and positively impact population health.