Colorectal Cancer Screening
Screening and Early Detection Saves Lives
To schedule a colorectal cancer screening
contact your primary care physician or a Scott & White location near you.
Bryan/College Station: 979-691-3616
Round Rock: 512-509-8200
Current screening methods include:
- Fecal occult blood testing (also called stool guaiac testing): A simple chemical test that can detect hidden blood in the stool.
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy: A visual examination of the rectum and lower portion of the colon, performed in a doctor's office.
- Double contrast barium enema: A special x-ray of the large intestine, which includes the colon and rectum.
- Colonoscopy: A visual examination of the entire colon.
- Digital rectal exam: An examination of the lower rectum to check for abnormalities.
Colorectal cancer screening costs are covered by Medicare and many commercial health plans. You should find out from your colorectal surgeon or other healthcare provider which screening procedure is right for you and how often you should be screened.
It’s one of those topics no one wants to think about, let alone discuss, but colorectal cancer is a curable disease if diagnosed and treated early.
According to the American Cancer Society® (ACS), colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and third leading cause of cancer death in both men and women in the United States. This year, approximately 141,000 new cases of colorectal cancer will be diagnosed and 49,000 people will die from the disease. But the majority of these cancers and deaths could be prevented by applying existing knowledge about cancer prevention and by increasing the use of established screening tests.
When to Get Screened for Colorectal Cancer
Screening for colorectal cancer is generally recommended starting at age 50. However, screening guidelines can vary based on your personal and family history, your race, and other factors.
Be sure to talk to your doctor about what guidelines and screening tests are right for you.
Know Your Family History
- Find out if you're at risk for colon cancer
- Get to know colorectal cancer fact vs. fiction
- Find out why the dreaded colonoscopy shouldn't be so dreaded after all
Why Screening for Colorectal Cancer Is So Important
Since there are very few symptoms associated with colorectal cancer, regular screening is essential. Screening is beneficial for two main reasons:
- Colorectal cancer is extremely preventable if polyps that lead to the cancer are detected and removed
- Colorectal cancer is very curable if the cancer is detected in its early stages
"If detected, colorectal cancer frequently requires surgery for complete cure. The need for radiation and chemotherapy depend on the stage of the cancer, which means how advanced the disease is,” explains colorectal surgeon Harry T. Papaconstantinou, MD.
"If the cancer is detected and treated in the earliest stages, between 80 and 90 percent of patients can be cured. However, the cure rate drops to 50 percent and less when diagnosed in the later stages."
Advanced Training and Experience Key to Effective Treatment
Studies have shown that patients treated by colorectal surgeons — experts in the surgical and nonsurgical treatment of colon and rectal problems — are more likely to survive colorectal cancer and experience fewer complications. This is attributed to colorectal surgeons' advanced training and the high volume of colon and rectal disease surgeries they perform.
Colorectal surgery at Scott & White has been in the forefront of minimally invasive surgical techniques. In our practice, we've incorporated robot-assisted surgery, as well as single incision laparoscopic surgery, and straight laparoscopic surgical techniques to care for patients, including cancer patients. These patients tend to have better outcomes in terms of decreased hospital stay and a shorter recovery period.
Talk to your primary care physician about getting screened for colorectal cancer, or contact one of the Scott & White locations listed along the top right side of this page.