In The News
Thanks to screening tests like the colonoscopy, most colon cancers are detected in the early stages. However, the colonoscopy involves snaking a camera through the intestines to identify polyps and remove them before they become cancerous. The new blood test requires additional testing to demonstrate the effectiveness of the test.
Because the colonoscopy can be expensive, is invasive and usually unpleasant, researchers have been trying to look for less invasive methods that would encourage more people to be tested for colon cancer.
Toward that end, researchers have identified key differences in the blood of people who have precancerous polyps compared to people without polyps. This blood test would be a great improvement over the other non-invasive colon cancer screening mechanisms used.
Daily Health Tip
Although you can currently test for occult blood in a fecal (stool) sample, this at home test is not always accurate. Much less invasive than a colonoscopy, this test doesn’t pick up all pre-cancerous or cancerous polyps because not all of them bleed and this test looks for blood in the stool that may not be visible. The initial results of this research is promising but does need additional lab tests and trials before being implemented in the clinical setting.
While this test is less invasive and requires more study, the colonoscopy has an excellent track record of identifying and removing pre-cancerous polyps. The survival rate for colon cancer when found locally without metastasis, is an amazing 90%. When the cancer has spread to the local region the survival rate is 70%. These numbers drop significantly to 12% when there are metastasis found in distant areas to the initial tumor.
When found early, colon cancer has a very high survival rate. To detect colon cancer you’ll want to schedule a colonoscopy at regular intervals. If you don’t have any polyps or adenomas and don’t have other risk factors you won’t need another for ten years. If you do have risk factors then the colonoscopy should be repeated every five years.
If you are 50 or over, it’s time to call your physician for a referral for a colonoscopy. Although slightly unpleasant, it is not painful and recovery is quick and simple.
And, in a short time you can possibly add years to your life.
Have a wonderful day!
Your Healthy Life America Team