The Importance of Colon Cancer Screening
Colon cancer is the third leading cancer in the U.S., and the second leading cause of cancer related death. However, when caught early, treatments are most effective. Caught at stage 1, colon cancer has an 80-95% survival rate. Awareness and screening exams are essential!
Colonoscopy alternatives available from the Association of Alexandria Radiologists provide a less invasive way to screen for colon polyps. If you’ve been avoiding your colonoscopy, as many people do, you may be surprised to learn that there are colonoscopy alternatives that can provide the same quality in a way that is much more comfortable for you. Colonoscopy alternatives like virtual colonoscopy are best suited for low-to-average risk patients who prefer not to have a regular colonoscopy or for patients who are unable to tolerate a regular colonoscopy. Always talk to your doctor about the type of exam that is best for you.
Colon Cancer Screening Recommendations
It is recommended that men and women age 50 and over receive colon cancer screening, like a virtual colonoscopy, at least once every 10 years. If you have a family history or a combination of other risk factors, your doctor may recommend earlier or more frequent screenings. Talk to your doctor about what screening schedule is best for you.
Colon Polyps Risk Factors
While colon cancer screening is recommended for all men and women, certain risk factors may increase a person’s chance of developing colon polyps—making colon cancer screening even more important.
- Men and women age 50 or older
- Being overweight
- Tobacco or alcohol use
- Personal/ or family history of colon polyps or colon cancer
- Having certain intestinal conditions including ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease
- Having a poor diet high fat and red meat and low in fiber
Virtual Colonoscopy: Benefits
When compared to a traditional colonoscopy, virtual colonoscopy has many benefits including:
- No sedation or pain medication necessary
- No recovery time
- Less uncomfortable
- Less invasive
- Shorter exam time
Virtual Colonoscopy Exam: What to Expect
During a virtual colonoscopy, a thin tube will be placed into your rectum to gently fill your colon with air. The air helps to eliminate any folds or wrinkles that could hide a polyp or other finding. You will be positioned on your back on the CT exam table, which will move through the CT scanner. Then images will be taken as you lie facedown. The entire exam takes only about 15 minutes and is well tolerated by nearly all patients.
Colon Cancer Screening: Making Your Appointment
The Association of Alexandria Radiologists offers virtual colonoscopy, which is a more comfortable, less invasive alternative to the traditional colonoscopy. When compared to a colonoscopy, virtual colonoscopy provides a high-quality colon cancer screening test that is less invasive and requires no sedation, pain medication, or recovery time.
For more information on colon cancer screening or to schedule an appointment or request an appointment online. please call one of our partner hospitals listed below:
Inova Alexandria Hospital – 703-504-7950
Inova Mount Vernon Hospital – 703-664-7462