Mark Olsen, MBA
March 4, 2022
Cross Valley Health & Medicine celebrates National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month each March. Each year, healthcare providers take this month to provide their patients with extra education about diseases of the colon and rectum. The promotion of screenings and tips for prevention are widespread for this time of year. “If you’re 45 to 75 years old, get screened for colorectal cancer regularly,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated in an online article posted in 2022.
What are my screening test options?
Stool Tests can come in three forms. The first form, guaiac-based fecal occult blood test (gFOBT), can detect traces of blood in your stool. As prescribed by your healthcare provider, this test can be performed at home, where a brush is used to obtain a small amount of your stool. The stool particles you just swabbed for are then bagged up and sent to a lab where the technicians can determine if the stool sample has traces of blood in it. The second form, fecal immunochemical test (FIT), is performed in the same way as the gFOBT test, but antibodies are used instead to detect traces of blood in the stool. The third form, the FIT-DNA test, combines the FIT and DNA detection methods to detect any modifications of DNA in the stool sample. The complete bowel movement is collected and sent to the lab to detect traces of blood.
Colonoscopies are commonly heard of. Your healthcare provider, usually done in a specialty clinic, inserts a thin and flexible lighted tube into your rectum. This examination is used to check for polyps or cancer found inside the rectum and the entire colon. Typically, this test is recommended to be performed every ten years unless you have an increased risk of colorectal cancer.
Sigmoidoscopy uses the same thin and flexible, lighted tube that is inserted into your rectum during a colonoscopy. The difference between a sigmoidoscopy and a colonoscopy is that a sigmoidoscopy checks for polyps and cancer inside the rectum and lower third of the colon. On the other hand, a colonoscopy checks for issues for the entire rectum and colon. Usually, every five to ten years this test is recommended to be performed.
How do I know which screening test is right for me?
First, check if your family has a history of colorectal cancer or other colorectal issues. This may place you at an increased genetic risk of developing a colorectal region problem. After reviewing your family history, check yourself. Are you currently experiencing an unexplained change in bowel movements, rectal bleeding, or persistent abdominal discomfort? It may be time to consult a gastroenterologist who may refer you to an experienced proctologist. Finally, determine your level of comfortability when it comes to these types of medical screenings. If you cannot handle being put to sleep for a procedure or do not feel comfortable with a thin rod inserted into your body, you have other options to screen for colorectal issues. Talk with your healthcare professional to weigh your screening options.
What can Cross Valley Health & Medicine do for me?
Cross Valley Health & Medicine medical practitioners are trained in primary care, and this means that they are very experienced in identifying and managing short and long-term chronic conditions. If you are experiencing gastro-related symptoms, your Cross Valley Health & Medicine medical practitioner may ask about your family history of colorectal caners and other medical issues that you may have an increased genetic risk to develop. From there, they may refer you out to a specialist for further testing. For other patients who come for an annual physical examination, your medical practitioner may discuss with you ordering Cologuard®, which is a screening test that uses your stool to detect colorectal cancer and precancerous cells. Ready to discuss having a colorectal screening done? Visit us online at www.crossvalleyhealth.com or give us a call at 845-561-7075.
Cross Valley Health & Medicine is a primary care practice located in Newburgh NY, allowing for both virtual and in-person appointments. The practice has two medical providers on staff, Doctor Paul Saladino who is dual board-certified in Addiction Medicine and Internal Medicine and a Christian Plaza, who is a family nurse practitioner. Both practitioners are eager to see new patients for the following programs: Substance Abuse Treatment, Behavioral Health Management, HIV/AIDS Care Management, Primary Care, Medical Marijuana Certifications, Medication-Assisted Treatment, STD/STI Care Management, and Weight Loss Management. If you are interested in becoming a patient of Cross Valley, please click here to access our online paperwork portal. Visit us online at www.crossvalleyhealth.com or give our office a call at 845-561-7075.