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Colonoscopy Alternatives for Colon Cancer

Dr. Lee Drinkard highlights some of the alternative tests for colonoscopy.

Southlake, TX – January 17, 2020 – A colonoscopy is often recommended for screening for colon cancer in patients. It the standard colon cancer screening test commonly used to check the colon and rectum for any abnormalities or changes that may signal the presence of disease. A colonoscopy offers plenty of benefits that can help save patients from colon cancer.

“Although colonoscopy can help to effectively detect cancer and increase the possibilities for cure, the procedure is invasive and uncomfortable for some patients,” explained Dr. Lee Drinkard, M.D. “The procedure requires thorough preparation and is also costly. There are other tests you can consider in place of colonoscopy, but you have to discuss with your doctor about your options.”

Here are some of the recommended alternative tests for colonoscopy:

  • Fecal occult blood test – The fecal occult blood test combines a blood test with a fecal immunochemical test to detect colorectal cancer accurately. This test has to be performed every year for effective outcomes.
  • Fecal Immunochemical test – A fecal immunochemical test uses antibodies to detect blood in stool samples and check for any internal gastrointestinal bleeding. The test may not be beneficial for people with anal fissures or hemorrhoids. It should be carried out every year.
  • Double-contrast barium enema – This is a type of X-ray that examines the colon for polyps. It requires the colon to be completely clean, so the patient will need to fast and evacuate the bowel. A double-contrast barium enema is useful for large polyps only. It is likely to miss the small lesions.
  • Stool DNA – This test can be carried out at home by the patient. It looks for blood and particular DNA in the stool that could indicate colon cancer. However, if found to have cancer, the patient will have to undergo a colonoscopy to remove the tumor.

“The alternative tests are as effective as colonoscopy, with some being less invasive,” continued Dr. Drinkard “They can help prevent colorectal cancers by identifying adenomas early before tumors develop. The doctor will help you to choose the best test that will help you prevent disease or treat it early before it grows and metastasizes.”

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