Colorectal Cancer Screening with Colonscopy
Everyone is at risk for Colorectal Cancer, the third most common cancer in the US and unfortunately the third most common cause of cancer-related death in the US. Every year between 30 and 40 patients are diagnosed with Colorectal Cancer, many of whom did not take advantage of the screening options that are available to them, that are of course free for Tricare beneficiaries. You are a good candidate for Colorectal Cancer screening if you are:
- 50 years or older OR…
- 45 years or older African Americans OR…
- 40 years or older for those who have at least one parent of sibling who has been diagnosed with Colorectal Cancer
Self-Referral for colorectal cancers screening with optical colonoscopy
To be eligible for self-referral if:
- You meet any of the age requirements outlined above
- You do not have any of the following symptoms:
- Abdominal Pain
- Change in Bowel Habits
- Rectal Bleeding
- Weight Loss
- Difficulty Swallowing
If you have any of these symptoms you will need to see your doctor.
Optical colonoscopy is considered the best screening test for colorectal cancer because during the procedure precancerous mounds of tissue, or polyps, can be removed before they turn into cancer. For this test you must undergo a bowel preparation to clean your colon and the procedure is usually done with sedation. If the examination is normal then repeat screening does not need to be done for up to 10 years. Other screening tests for Colorectal Cancer that are though not as good as colonoscopy but nonetheless recommended by major societies include Fecal Immunochemistry Test (FIT) and CT colonography (CTC). Both FIT and CTC must be ordered by your doctor. For more information on these tests please watch this short video.