Bowel Cancer Testing
Around 80 Australians die from bowel cancer every week! Bowel cancer can be treated successfully if detected in its early stages.
Fewer than 40 per cent of bowel cancers are detected early. Bowel screening through Colonoscopy offers the best chance of early detection and treatment.
Bowel cancer screening must become a priority for everyone. It is everyone responsibility to raise awareness and encourage bowel cancer testing.
Are You At Risk?
Once you have read the important information below and would like to be screened for bowel cancer, you will need to follow this procedure:
Bowel cancer test
Bowel screening is highly important – especially to men and women aged 50 and older. In many cases, doctors recommend undergoing a colonoscopy as part of bowel cancer testing.
During a colonoscopy if your gastroenterologist detects abnormal cell growths called ‘polyps’, he/she will remove them. Bowel polyps are often benign, however they can eventually become malignant.
Bowel cancer is hereditary and can also develop as a result of many lifestyle factors. Regular testing for bowel cancer is vital to your overall health – not just for aging adults, but for people of all ages.
So your Doctor has referred you for further tests… don’t be alarmed, this doesn’t mean you have bowel cancer! Bowel cancer tests are just that, tests. These tests will in turn tell you whether or not you need immediate treatment, or investigations for something entirely different. Usually your referral for further tests will be to a hospital or clinic for a colonoscopy.
If you presented with a number of high-risk symptoms, your Doctor will have urgently referred you for a colonoscopy that should take place within 30 days. If the symptoms are considered low-risk, you will receive a normal referral. Bowel cancer symptoms rarely present themselves so if you’re experiencing any or your bowel cancer screening shows something;
Ask your physician for more details about bowel cancer screening or check with the experts at Direct Endoscopy to find out how to get a referral for a colonoscopy.
Who is at Risk?
Bowel cancer prevention is important and the risk of bowel cancer is greater for people who:
- Are aged 50 years and over (risk increases with age)
- Have a significant family history of bowel cancer or polyps
- Have had an inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
- Have previously had special types of polyps, called adenomas, in the bowel.
These tests use machines to create a picture of your body, so the specialist can look for signs of bowel cancers to find how advanced bowel cancer is (staging). Bowel cancer staging tests used for diagnoses include: CT Scan MRI PET (Positron Emission Tomography)
Tests to view the inside of your intestines
These tests, known as Endoscopic tests, involve a small camera being placed inside your small intestine so your doctor can see the inside walls. These tests are best for picking up early small cancers or pre-cancerous polyps. Endoscopic tests may include the following: Upper endoscopy Colonoscopy Capsule endoscopy Single or double-balloon enteroscopy (for small bowel)
In some cases, small bowel cancers are in places which are difficult to access or stage with other tests. When this happens, your doctor may recommend keyhole surgery for proper examination of these areas. In many cases surgery is required for definitive treatment. These surgeries are usually via a laparoscopy (keyhole) or laparotomy (open surgery). Laparotomies involve one large incision across your abdomen, while laparoscopies have several small incisions. Your specialist and surgeon will determine which option is the best for you.
Colonoscopy to test for bowel caner
Colonoscopy is the best way of detecting and the only means of removing polyps from the bowel. If polyps are left untreated, a significant percentage of these will eventually develop into bowel cancer.
Polyps may not have symptoms and usually are discovered by inspection at the time of colonoscopy, so early identification of polyps is the best method of bowel cancer screening.
The National Bowel Cancer Screening Program
Take advantage of the free National Bowel Cancer Screening Program, which is currently in place for screening all Australian citizens aged 50, 55 and 65 without symptoms with FOBT (faecal occult blood test).
Getting yourself checked and tested is the best way to prevent or diagnose bowel cancer. Bowel screening tests are available at Direct Endoscopy. You can schedule a consultation or book a colonoscopy by calling at 03 9781 5959.