Colorectal Cancer Screening and Risk Factors
Colon screenings are important to ensure your body stays healthy and to detect any early signs of cancer. Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute recommends flexible sigmoidoscopy (which examines the rectum and lower part of the colon) every five years or a colonoscopy (which examines the rectum and entire colon) every 10 years for those who are 50 years of age or older.
A colonoscopy is the gold standard of colon cancer screening but we know that many people are hesitant about the procedure. That’s why at HCA Midwest Health we’ve got your backside. Depending on your personal history and risk factors, other screening options are available in the Kansas City area.
- Digital rectal exam – An exam that checks for abnormalities. It can detect almost half of colon cancers and can usually be completed by a primary care physician near you
- Fecal immunochemical test (FIT) – A stool culture test used to detect blood in the stool. You will obtain a discreet sample in the privacy of your own home and send to a lab for analysis. This test of offered through a primary care physician and is covered by most insurance with little to no cost to you. It is designed for patients at an average risk for colon cancer and should be repeated annually
- Fecal occult blood test – A lab test used to look for blood in the stool. You can talk to a primary care doctor near you about this test
- Stool DNA test – A lab test used to look for DNA changes in cells. It can also detect blood in stool. This test can usually be performed by your PCP
- X-ray of the large intestine or barium enema – Provides a picture of the colon and can assist in identifying polyps
- Biopsy – The doctor removes a tissue sample to be sent for examination
- Virtual colonoscopy – Uses computer software along and CT scan to check the colon for polyps
For more information, call (816) 751-3775.
Colon Cancer Risk Factors
Regular screening is your best weapon against colon cancer. But there are still some things you can do to reduce your risk. While not all risk factors can be changed, some can be. And early stage colorectal cancer doesn’t usually have symptoms. That’s why it’s important to know the risk factors and make lifestyle choices that can reduce your risk.
- Age – 50 years old or older
- Physical inactivity and obesity – Research indicates an association between obesity and colon cancer. Regular exercise is key to overall health
- Diet – A diet high in red and processed meats may lead to a higher chance of developing colon cancer. High amounts of fruits, vegetables and whole grains have been linked to a lower risk for developing colorectal cancer
- Family history – A family history of colon or rectal cancer can put you at a higher risk
- Smoking – Those who have a long history of smoking are more likely than non-smokers to be diagnosed with colorectal cancer
- Alcohol – Colorectal cancer has been linked to heavier alcohol use
- Diabetes – Research shows a clear link between type 2 diabetes and colon cancer
- Race – African-Americans and Native Americans have a higher risk for developing colorectal cancer
High-Risk Colon Cancer Care
At the Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute at HCA Midwest Health, we aim to provide you with the quality care you deserve with as little hassle as possible. That’s why we provide the full range of colon cancer screening and care at multiple convenient locations throughout the area. Our high-risk GI clinics will provide you with the information you need to make informed choices regarding additional screenings, diagnostics and prevention. We offer also one of the most comprehensive genetic counseling programs in the Kansas City metro. If you think you may benefit from high-risk gastrointestinal cancer care, talk to your physician about a referral.
We offer four clinic locations so you never have to travel far from home or work.
- Centerpoint Medical Center
- Menorah Medical Center
- Overland Park Regional Medical Center
- Research Medical Center