Colorectal Cancer Screenings at VCC
Early detection of cancer through screening reduces risk of death from cancer, including cervical, breast and colon. At VCC, we screen for these diseases to ensure a long, healthy life. Screening prevents cancer through the detection and removal of precancerous growths, detecting cancer at an early stage, when treatment can be successful.
Prevent Colorectal Cancer with the right test at the right time.
- Why test?
- Obtaining this test can find colorectal cancer at an early stage and prevent this cancer.
- Colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in both men and women who are 45 years and older and is the second deadliest in the United States.
- According to the Center for Disease and Control and Prevention, “Millions of people in the United States are not getting screened as recommended. They are missing the chance to prevent colorectal cancer or find it early, when treatment often leads to a cure.”
- When should I get this test?
- Men and women between the ages 45 to 74 should obtain this screening test.
- How often do I have to get this test?
- Based on your family history and your health history your doctor will recommend a FIT (Lab) test every year, or a colonoscopy every 10 years.
- How do I test for Colorectal Cancer?
- The most commonly used tests are the FIT and the colonoscopy: A FIT (fecal immunochemical test), which is a lab test, uses antibodies or a blood protein to identify blood in the stool. Presence of blood in the stool can be an early sign of cancer in the colon. A Colonoscopy is a procedure that uses a long, thin, flexible, lighted tube to look for polyps or cancer inside the rectum and the whole colon.
- If your doctor recommends a FIT as your screening method, every year you will be given a FIT card to take home to collect a small sample of your feces. Remember to follow the instructions provided in the FIT card and ensure you include (name of paperwork that includes lab info). You can drop it off at one our clinic sites and we will send out it out to the lab or you can mail it. Once the sample has arrived at the lab, it will be inspected for possible hidden blood cells in the stool.
- If your doctor recommends a colonoscopy as your colorectal cancer screening method, your doctor will refer you to a Gastroenterologist. Our referral’s department will provide you with the Gastroenterologist office information once your referral has been approved. This exam is completed every 10 years. This is usually done under general anesthesia and a flexible camera, known as a colonoscope, is used to examine the colon. This procedure can look for pre-cancer polyps and tumors. If found early enough they can be removed and treated during the same screening procedure.
- How to prepare for the test?
- For the FIT test: no preparation or special diet is needed only the collection of the fecal sample that is done at home. Once the sample is collected it needs to be sent to the lab for processing. It is important that the order is included.
- For the colonoscopy test, a consult with the gastroenterologist is first needed to discuss the procedure risks and preparation for this study. Once the consult is completed, the gastroenterologist office will schedule the procedure.
- What happens after the test?
- For the FIT test:
- If the result is normal you will not need further testing until you are due for your next yearly FIT.
- If the result is abnormal, further testing will be recommended. You will be contacted about the next steps required.
- For the colonoscopy test:
- If the result is normal, you may not need further testing until you are due again in 10 years.
- If the result is abnormal, the gastroenterologist will often treat you during the colonoscopy and will conduct further testing to gather all information needed to treat early any suspicious cancer findings.
- For the FIT test:
Still have questions or want to know more? Come in to see your Primary Care Provider at your preferred VCC location.
Click here for more information about Colorectal Cancer.
Watch our clinician, Dr. Sefa, talk about what to expect from a Colon Cancer screening below: