Colorectal Cancer Screening

Colorectal Cancer is Preventable & Treatable

Colorectal cancer is preventable and treatable – screening saves lives. Although it is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, most colorectal cancers develop slowly over many years, making it possible to intervene at an early, treatable stage. The goal of screening is not just to detect colorectal cancer, it is to prevent it all together.

Call (513) 751-6667 to schedule your colonoscopy today

Screening Guidelines

  Patient Description Screening Method Begin Screening Frequency
Average Risk Age 50
Age 45 for African-Americans
No symptoms
No family history
Colonoscopy Age 50
Age 45 for African-Americans
Every 10 years
Increased or High Risk Family history of colorectal cancer or a hereditary syndrome (FAP, Lynch, or HNPCC) Colonoscopy Screening intervals may vary and may be required at a very young age based on diagnosis
Personal history of chronic inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease) Colonoscopy 8-10 years after onset of inflammation Every year
Personal history of colorectal cancer or polyps Colonoscopy Surveillance intervals may vary

Ohio GI is committed to colorectal cancer prevention. We recommend colonoscopy as the primary screening method. Most colorectal cancer begins as a polyp, a small growth in the tissue that lines the colon and rectum. Precancerous polyps are present in 30-40% of patients and almost never cause symptoms. For this reason, our doctors recommend colonoscopy testing beginning at age 50 or earlier, depending upon individual risk, to identify and remove polyps before they turn into cancer. With early detection, colorectal cancer can be prevented.

In accordance with the U.S. Multi-Society Task Force of Colorectal Cancer1, Ohio GI follows the screening guidelines above, adhering to a colonoscopy-centered screening program. Additional screening tests are available and covered in detail under Screening Methods. The most important thing is to get tested, no matter which test you choose.

Call (513) 751-6667 to schedule your colonoscopy today

Understanding Your Risk

The lifetime risk of developing colorectal cancer is roughly 1 in 22 (4.49%) for men and 1 in 24 (4.15%) for women2. The exact cause for the development of polyps that lead to colorectal cancer is not known, but there are known factors that increase an individual’s risk.

  • African-American race. African Americans have an increased risk of colon cancer.
  • Family history of colorectal cancer. You have a greater likelihood of developing colon cancer if you have a parent, sibling or child with the disease. Your risk is also increased if more than one family member has colorectal cancer.
  • Inherited syndromes. Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) and hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC also known as Lynch syndrome) are genetic conditions that increase your risk of colorectal cancer.
    • FAP causes hundreds of polyps to develop throughout the colon. People with untreated FAP have an increased risk of developing colon cancer before age 40.
    • HNPCC (also known as Lynch syndrome) is suspected in those with a strong family history of colon cancer. About 70 percent of people with HNPCC will experience colorectal cancer by the age of 65.
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease. If you have Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, you have an increased risk of colorectal cancer.
  • Prior colorectal cancer or polyps. If you have previously had colorectal cancer or adenomatous polyps, you are at increased risk of a future colorectal cancer.
  • Increasing age. The majority of colorectal cancer diagnoses occur in people older than 50 years of age. Risk increases with age throughout life.
  • Lifestyle factors. Several lifestyle factors increase the risk of colorectal cancer including: a diet high in fat and red meat and low in fiber, a sedentary lifestyle, diabetes, obesity, smoking and heavy use of alcohol.
Call (513) 751-6667 to schedule your colonoscopy today

Screening Methods

At Ohio GI, we are experts in colonoscopy, the gold standard for prevention and detection, and recommend a colonoscopy as your primary screening method. You are encouraged to talk with us about all of the screening options available, the advantages and disadvantages of each test and how often to undergo screening. We offer several screening methods that are grouped into either cancer prevention or cancer detection tests. Cancer prevention tests are able to detect both cancer and polyps, whereas cancer detection tests have a low sensitivity for polyps. In considering all methods and personal preferences, the most critical thing is to get tested no matter which test you choose.

Primary Screening Method

  • Colonoscopy. This test is the most sensitive available with ability to detect and remove any abnormal growths. During a colonoscopy, the rectum and entire colon are examined using a flexible lighted tube equipped with a lens for viewing and a tool for polyp removal. The use of a laxative and fasting are required prior to testing to ensure a thorough cleansing of the entire colon. We perform colonoscopies at our two conveniently located endoscopy centers and at area hospitals. With compassionate professionals and state of the art medical equipment, our centers are designed to provide high quality, affordable care and a positive, individualized, and respectful experience. Colonoscopies are performed under sedation to make you as comfortable as possible.

Secondary Screening Methods

  • Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT). Both polyps and colorectal cancers can bleed – FIT uses antibodies to detect tiny amounts of blood in stool that cannot be seen visually. Stool samples are collected at home using a kit, and the samples are returned to our office. Dietary restrictions are typically not required for FIT. If test results do show blood in stool, a colonoscopy is needed to identify the source of bleeding. We recommended FIT screening annually.
  • Flexible Sigmoidoscopy. Similar to a colonoscopy, this procedure uses a flexible, lighted tube to view the inside of the rectum and lower third of the colon. During sigmoidoscopy, abnormal growths can be removed. This test requires fasting and the use of a laxative to cleanse the colon. As a secondary method, sigmoidoscopy is recommended every 5-10 years.
  • CT Colonography (Virtual Colonoscopy). This screening method uses x-ray equipment to produce a series of detailed pictures of the colon and rectum that can show polyps and other abnormalities. The test is done using a CT scanner and does not require sedation. Fasting and the use of a laxative are required to thoroughly cleanse the colon before testing. If polyps are found during a virtual colonoscopy, a standard colonoscopy is needed to remove them. As a secondary method, CT colonography is recommended every 5 years.
  • Stool DNA (FIT-DNA) Test. Similar to FIT, FIT-DNA detects tiny amounts of blood in stool as well as DNA biomarkers that have been found in colorectal cancer and precancerous polyps. A stool sample is collected at home using a kit, and returned to our office. This test may require limiting certain foods and medications. Further testing is needed if test results show blood in stool or if altered DNA is present. As a secondary method, FIT-DNA is recommended every 3 years.
  • Guaiac-Based Fecal Occult Blood Test (gFOBT). Also similar to FIT, gFOBT checks for tiny amounts of blood in stool that cannot be seen visually, using a chemical to detect heme, a component of the blood protein hemoglobin. Stool samples are collected at home using a kit, and the samples are returned to our office or a lab for testing. This test may require avoiding certain foods and medications. A colonoscopy is needed if test results show blood in stool. As a secondary method, gFOBT is recommended annually.

Call (513) 751-6667 to schedule your colonoscopy today

Risk Reducing Lifestyle Modifications

It is important to remember that there is not a single diet, lifestyle modification or supplement that can reliably reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. The most effective preventative measure is following screening guidelines based on your personal risk. In addition to screening, consider factors below that may help reduce your risk.

  • Eat a healthy diet. Choose a variety of foods that are high in fiber, including fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and reduce consumption of red meat. When cooking meat, do not burn or blacken it (charring can create carcinogens).
  • Calcium intake. Try to get 800-1200mg of calcium per day.
  • Moderate alcohol consumption. Limit to no more than 2 alcoholic beverages daily.
  • Stop smoking. Talk to your healthcare provider about ways to quit that work for you.
  • Regular exercise. Try to get 30 minutes of daily exercise and maintain a healthy body weight.