ACG New Colonoscopy Screening Guidelines Also Include Optional Colon Cancer Testing Procedures For You

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Colorectal cancer (CRC) screening guidelines have been updated by The American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) to reflect its position on cancer prevention and cancer detection screening tests. The organization's guidelines currently still promote colonoscopy examination every 10 years as a preferred screening test. The guidelines continue to recommend screening for average-risked individuals beginning when you reach your 50th birthday. However, it recommends that African Americans in the average-risked group begin screening at age 45. ACG recognizes colonoscopy as a preferred procedure but tempers its new recommendation somewhat in recognizing that many people's economic status prevents them from undergoing CRC testing. The organization also recommends alternative CRC screening options.

Flexible Sigmoidoscopy Screening

ACG recommends that alternative screening options should be in place to accommodate patients like you who are unwilling to undergo colonoscopy screening. Under the new guidelines, you can choose screening by flexible sigmoidoscopy every 5 to 10 years. Sigmoidoscopy allows your surgeon to visually examine the lower third portion of your colon by using a sigmoidoscope to search for polyps.

CT Colonography

You also have the choice of screening with the use of a CT colonography examination every 5 years. Many patients simply refuse to undergo colonoscopy because of the discomforts associated with prepping procedures. You can now choose colonography as an alternative procedure when you decline to undergo colonoscopy.

Fecal Immunochemical Blood Test

You can also request a third option of screening, which is a cancer detection test. This test uses a fecal immunochemical test (FIT) blood testing method. Your stool is examined for signs of blood during laboratory testing.

Cancer Prevention Versus Cancer Detection Tests

ACG, in updating its year 2000 guidelines, points out that cancer prevention tests can capture images of cancer and polyps that you may have. Polyps caught in early stages can be removed while you undergo a colonoscopy procedure. The organization notes that cancer detection tests, on the other hand, exhibit a low sensitivity for capturing polyps and cancer.

Read and follow the updated ACG guidelines when you must make a decision about what CRC alternative testing you want to undergo. Discuss this issue with your gastroenterologist and your family members as well.

Decreased Incident Rates Of Colon Cancer

The rate at which patients are being diagnosed with colon cancer is down by 30 percent in the past decade for citizens in the 50 years age group as reported by the American Cancer Society. Researchers and other cancer experts credit the decreasing figures to larger numbers of people who undergo screening procedures. The society encourages you to have CRC screening tests done. Ask the American Cancer Society for suggestions as to how you can obtain CRC screening if you are unable to pay for the procedure and you have no insurance coverage whatsoever. Colon cancer screening can save your life.

For more information, visit Clinical Gastrointestinal Associates, PC.