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Colon Cancer Screening

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The best colorectal cancer screening is the one you actually take.

Colon cancer is serious – and preventable

Colon cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths in the United States. It is also one of the most preventable forms of cancer, as regular screenings can catch pre-cancerous polyps before they turn into cancer. That's why it’s so important to get screened for colon cancer, especially if you're over the age of 45 or have a family history of the disease. If you have a family history of colon cancer or certain other risk factors, you may need to start screening earlier or get screened more frequently.

While colon cancer screening tests may be uncomfortable, they are generally not painful. The benefits of colon cancer screening far outweigh the potential risks.

Now there are screening options.

Colonoscopy remains the gold standard to screen for cancer, but patients without certain risk factors or previous history may be eligible for at-home screening. The most important thing is to take the step to complete a screening.

WellSpan offers the following colon cancer screenings:

FIT VIAL

  • Annual
  • Non-invasive
  • No bowel preparation
  • At home
  • 73.8% accurate
  • Can result in false positive
  • Positive result will require diagnostic colonoscopy

FIT DNA (Cologuard)

  • Every 1-3 years
  • Non-invasive
  • No bowel preparation
  • At home
  • 92% accurate
  • Highest false positive results
  • Positive result will require diagnostic colonoscopy

Colonoscopy

  • Every 10 years
  • Invasive
  • Bowel prepping
  • Outpatient
  • Requires assistance getting home
  • 98% accurate
  • Recommended by WellSpan

Eligibility

To be eligible for at-home screening, you must have no history of polyps, no family history and no active symptoms (including rectal bleeding, blood in stool or frequent changes in bowel habits).


FIT VIAL Screening

Completed annually

FIT, or fecal immunochemical test, is a non-invasive screening test that is used to detect colon cancer. It is a stool-based test that can be done at home, and it does not require any special bowel preparation or diet changes. To use FIT, you collect a small sample of your stool and place it on a special card that is provided with the kit. The card is then mailed to a laboratory for analysis.

If your test is positive, a colonoscopy will be needed to rule out cancer.

FIT VIAL screenings are covered by most insurances.

See if you’re eligible for this screening in your MyWellSpan account.


FIT DNA (Cologuard)

Completed every three years

FIT DNA (or Cologuard screening) is a non-invasive, stool-based test that checks for DNA markers and blood or other abnormalities in the stool that are associated with colon cancer. The test can be done at home, and it does not require any special bowel preparation or diet changes. To use FIT DNA (Cologuard), you collect a stool sample and send it to a laboratory for analysis.

If your test is positive, a colonoscopy will be needed to rule out cancer.

FIT DNA (Cologuard) screenings are covered by most insurances.

If you have a primary care provider, contact them to request an order for a Cologuard screening. Find a primary care provider.


Colonoscopy Screening

Completed every 10 years

Considered the "gold standard" of screenings, a colonoscopy is the most accurate method for detecting signs of colon cancer and WellSpan's preferred method.

A colonoscopy involves inserting a camera into the rectum to examine the entire colon while you are sedated. If polyps or any abnormal growths are found, they can be removed during the exam. Removal of certain types of polyps are considered the best way to prevent polyps becoming cancerous.

You'll need to do preparation to thoroughly cleanse the colon before the procedure. Your provider will review this info in detail with you. Learn more about screening colonoscopies and preparation. You'll also need take a day off work and have a driver.

There are some potential risks associated with colonoscopy, including bleeding and perforation of the colon. However, these complications are rare and can usually be easily treated.

As a preventative measure, colonoscopy screenings are covered by most insurances. If a polyp is removed during a screening, however, there may be a cost for this procedure, depending on your insurance.

Schedule a colonoscopy

If you have a primary care provider, contact them to request a referral for a screening colonoscopy for your local WellSpan Digestive Health practice.

Your primary care provider can also help you schedule a colonoscopy. Find a primary care provider.


Frequently Asked Questions

What happens after the at-home screenings?

A negative result does not completely rule out the possibility of colon cancer, which is why you will need to screen more frequently if you choose this method.

If the test is positive, it may indicate the presence of colon cancer or other digestive system conditions, and your WellSpan provider will follow up with a colonoscopy or other diagnostic tests for further evaluation.

Am I eligible for at-home screening?

See if you’re eligible for screening in your MyWellSpan account. Or, talk to your care provider about the screening option that is right for you.

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