Colon cancer centers have much to offer the general public and are responsible for saving lives every year. Colon cancer is an insidious disease that grows slowly, often escaping detection until it is too late. With the help of these special centers, new screening options are available that allow early detection and present the opportunity to catch this disease in its early stages when it is easy to treat.
The American Cancer Society has recommended that all adults over the age of 50 receive regular colon cancer screenings, at least once every five to ten years. It may be necessary for those that are in high risk groups to receive more frequent scans. The necessity of these screenings is due to the fact that risks for colon cancer jump significantly after the age of 50. In fact, the vast majority of colon and rectal cancers are discovered in patients that are over the age of 50.
Colon cancer centers offer numerous different tests that can help lead to early detection. A digital rectal exam is quite common and can be very effective in detecting large tumors that are close to the rectum.
A fecal occult blood test is offered by most colon cancer centers. This test searches for the presence of blood in the stool. Occult blood is often generated in the right colon from a tumor, and is very dark in color. In fact, many people may not realize that they have rectal bleeding, either because of the fact that the quantity of blood present is quite small, or because the blood is quite dark, and not distinguishable by looking at the stool.
A colonoscopy may be offered by a colon cancer center. This is one of the preferred detection methods since it so effective. In this type of test, a lighted scope is inserted into the rectum, then advanced through the remainder of the colon to search for small polyps or tumors. A sigmoidoscopy is very similar, but is limited typically to the rectal and lower colon areas.
If a satisfactory colonoscopy cannot be obtained, then your doctor may request that a barium enema be obtained. This is an xray test where air and barium are placed into the rectum, filling the colon. The colon may then be examined by utilizing xrays.
Colon cancer centers offer many other services for colon health and can be found in most major cities throughout the United States.