Why are Colorectal Cancer screening important?
Regular colorectal cancer screening is one of the most powerful tools for preventing colorectal cancer. Screening can find precancerous polyps—abnormal growths in the colon or rectum—so that they can be removed before they turn into cancer. Screening is important because when found early, colorectal cancer is highly treatable. Early stages of colorectal cancer usually present no symptoms. Symptoms tend to appear as the cancer progresses.
A Colonoscopy is the first and best step to detecting colorectal cancer before it develops, the disease has become one of the most preventable forms of cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends those at average risk should see a gastroenterologist by age 45. Based on the findings of the initial colonoscopy screening, your gastroenterologist will recommend the frequency of follow-up colonoscopies.
What is a colonoscopy?
It is the gold standard screening for colorectal cancer and is the only screening that can prevent and detect cancer. The procedure finds and painlessly removes polyps before they turn into cancer. For many, the thought of getting a colonoscopy for the first time may be scary, but the entire procedure is painless.
What happens during the procedure?
Using a colonoscope (a thin, flexible tube with a light, camera, and tool to remove polyps attached at the end) your gastroenterologist inserts it and guides it to the end of the colon. The colonoscope is then slowly removed as your doctor uses it to look for any polyps. Polyps are growths that protrude from the inner wall of the large intestine, which can develop into colorectal cancers. If a polyp is found, it is then painlessly removed and sent to a pathology lab for examination.
Colon Cancer Risk Factors
Colon cancer can occur in anyone and does not discriminate. However, studies have shown that those who fall into the following categories are at a greater risk of developing the disease:
- Individuals with a family history of colon polyps or cancer
- Those with a personal history of colon polyps or cancer
- People over the age of 45
- Those with ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease
- Individuals with the genetic conditions Hereditary Nonpolyposis Colon Cancer (HNPCC) or Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (FAP)
- Certain ethnic groups including African-Americans, Native Americans, Alaskan Natives and Jews of Eastern European descent (Ashkenazi Jews)
A colonoscopy screening may not be the most pleasant experience one can go through, but there is a lasting peace of mind that comes with the procedure, and it may save your life. To schedule an appointment or learn more about how Gastroenterology Consultants of San Antonio specializes in easy-prep colonoscopies in the San Antonio.
45 or above? The time for a colonoscopy is now.
Gastroenterology Consultants of San Antonio (GCSA) accepts most insurances, including HMO, PPO, Medicare and Medicaid plans.
Colonoscopies typically receive excellent insurance coverage, and we accept a wide variety of plans to make screening for colorectal cancer affordable for as many people as possible. However, your plan may still require some out-of-pocket contribution. We offer CareCredit® and in-house financing to make sure you can access this important procedure. To learn more about insurance and financial policies, visit our FAQ.