Neosho Memorial Regional Medical Center | Best Health | Spring 2022

Colorectal cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer-related death in the U.S. But it doesn’t have to be. Screening tests for colorectal cancer save lives. And you have multiple screening tests to choose from, each with its own pros and cons. Types of screening tests Screenings for colorectal cancer can be divided into two main groups: ◆ Stool-based tests. ◆ Visual exams. Stool-based tests look at your stool for possible signs of polyps—growths that sometimes turn cancerous—or for colorectal cancer itself. You collect samples of your stool that are then sent to a lab for analysis. These tests don’t require the kind of colon preparation needed for a colonoscopy. But you need to do them more often—sometimes every year. A visual exam is a traditional colonoscopy. (Another visual exam, sigmoidoscopy, isn’t commonly used for screening in the U.S.) For a colonoscopy, you’re sedated while a scope is inserted into your rectum and fed through your colon. A doctor uses a camera on the end of the scope to look for precancerous polyps or signs of cancer. A major advantage of a colonoscopy: A doctor can remove any polyps discovered during this exam. Colonoscopies require you to clean out your colon with a mix of laxatives beforehand. Any abnormalities found on stool-based tests require follow-up with a traditional colonoscopy. Make it happen: Get screened for colorectal cancer 6