Screening for Colon Cancer: A Proactive Approach to Healthcare

By Dr. Ganesh Nagarajan in Gastrointestinal Cancer Program , HPB malignancies

Mar 01 , 2024 | 3 min read

Screening for Colon Cancer: A Proactive Approach to Healthcare

At the heart of our healthcare philosophy lies the emphasis on proactive measures, particularly in the realm of colon cancer screening. Given that colon cancer is often preventable and highly treatable when caught early, regular screenings stand out as a crucial preventive strategy.

Eligibility for Screening:

Colon cancer knows no bounds of age or gender, making screenings essential for a broad demographic. Our recommendations include:

  • Individuals aged 50 and above, with some guidelines advocating for screenings to begin at 45 due to a noticeable increase in younger populations.
  • Anyone with a familial history of colon cancer or specific genetic conditions.
  • Those with a personal history of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or previous colorectal polyps.

The Advantages of Early Screening:

The value of early detection in colon cancer cannot be overstated, as it significantly enhances the chances of successful treatment. Screenings can identify precancerous polyps or early-stage cancer, enabling timely interventions that may prevent the progression to more advanced stages. Additionally, screenings facilitate the removal of polyps before they have a chance to evolve into cancer, further mitigating risk.

Comprehensive Screening Options at Nanavati Max Super Specialty Hospital:

We offer a range of screening methods, each tailored to meet individual needs:

  • Blood Markers: We utilize blood tests to identify markers that may be indicative of colon cancer. While these markers are not definitive diagnostic tools, abnormal results can lead to more in-depth investigations.
  • Stool Tests: Our stool tests, including the Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) and Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT), are designed to detect the presence of blood in the stool, a potential indicator of colorectal issues.
  • Colonoscopy: Regarded as the most thorough screening method, colonoscopy provides a direct view of the colon and enables the removal of polyps during the procedure. For those at average risk, we recommend a colonoscopy every 10 years for a comprehensive evaluation.

By embracing these screening options, we aim to stay ahead in the fight against colon cancer, ensuring the well-being of our patients through early detection and prevention.

Treatment Approaches for Colorectal Cancer:

Surgery: The primary treatment for colorectal cancer typically involves surgery. This procedure entails the removal of the tumor, a margin of surrounding healthy tissue, and nearby lymph nodes. In cases of rectal cancer situated low in the rectum, permanent removal of the rectum may be necessary. A colostomy, an opening in the abdominal wall for waste expulsion, is created when required. Patients with colostomies, aided by specialized nurses known as enterostomal therapists, often resume normal activities. Surgical options include minimally invasive techniques like robotic or laparoscopic surgery, as well as traditional open surgery. The choice of surgery is influenced by the tumor's location and involves removing the affected bowel segment followed by rejoining the healthy sections. Minimally invasive surgery has been associated with quicker recovery, reduced pain, and earlier return to work, with comparable oncologic outcomes to open surgery.

Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy aims to eliminate cancer cells and prevent their spread. Medications can be administered orally or intravenously. Often, a combination of drugs is used to enhance efficacy. Treatment cycles typically last 2 to 4 weeks, followed by a rest period. Chemotherapy may be employed post-surgery to eradicate any remaining cancer cells or pre-surgery to shrink tumors for easier removal. It is also a key strategy for controlling disease progression.

Radiation Therapy: This treatment employs high-energy X-rays, electron beams, or radioactive isotopes to target cancer cells. By focusing radiation directly on the tumor, it disrupts the cancer cells' ability to replicate. While radiation therapy is a common treatment for various cancers, its primary application in colorectal cancer is predominantly for rectal cancer.

By offering a range of treatment options, medical professionals aim to provide personalized care tailored to each patient's specific needs, optimizing outcomes and enhancing quality of life.

Empower Your Well-being

Your health is an invaluable treasure, and embracing preventive measures is crucial for safeguarding it. We invite you to arrange a consultation with our seasoned healthcare experts to determine the most suitable screening approach for