Is There a Difference Between Colonoscopies and At-Home Colorectal Cancer Tests?


As we age, it’s crucial to preserve our well-being by adding in regular health checks, including colon and rectal cancer screenings. These straightforward exams can identify the markers of colorectal cancer and help impede colorectal cancer advancement. With new breakthroughs in technology, however, patients can screen themselves for colon cancer from the comfort of their homes. At Arizona Digestive Health in Phoenix, AZ, our gastrointestinal (GI) doctors encourage our patients to learn about colon cancer symptoms, as well as perform routine tests to maintain their digestive health. However, with the prevalence of at-home screenings increasing, it’s crucial to recognize the distinction between an at-home exam and a colonoscopy carried out by a gastrointestinal (GI) specialist.

How can I test for colorectal cancer?

It’s important to take your health and well-being seriously, and we congratulate you for taking the first step by advancing your colorectal cancer knowledge. Colon cancer tests are significant for every individual as they advance in years; however, they’re specifically important for people who have specific risk factors, such as family members who have had colon and rectal cancer. Some people prefer to use an at-home colon and rectal cancer test, as they are less invasive and confidential. Still, routine colonoscopy exams at Arizona Digestive Health are more precise than at-home exams and vitally important to identify and address colon cancer in the early stages.

If you have a family history of colorectal cancer, are age 45 or older, or suffer any of the indications listed below, we implore you to reach out to Arizona Digestive Health to schedule an appointment with a colonoscopy doctor in Phoenix, AZ.

Common signs of colon and rectal cancer are:

  • Variation in bowel habits
  • Persistent cramps, gas, or abdominal pain
  • Blood in the stool
  • Inexplicable weight loss
  • The feeling that your bowel won’t completely evacuate

The colonoscopy vs. home kits for colon and rectal cancer

It’s critical in your health journey to know the difference between a colonoscopy and a home colon cancer test, as the two provide distinct levels of facts. At Arizona Digestive Health, we encourage patients age 45 and over to book a colonoscopy roughly every ten years to screen for colorectal cancer and additional issues. Based on your or your family’s history, we might advise you to get examined earlier or more often. During a colonoscopy, our GI physicians will search for polyps (growths) or anomalies in the colon and rectum utilizing a small camera. If any abnormal tissues are found, we can remove them at the time of your colonoscopy and execute a biopsy. The complete process takes between 30 – 60 minutes.

An at-home screening provides a convenient means for individuals to look for early signs of colon cancer from the comfort of their private homes. This process is less invasive and generally only involves mailing in a stool specimen for review. It can seem like an effortless approach to monitoring your health and wellness, particularly if colorectal cancer is prevalent in your family. While at-home colon and rectal cancer kits can offer a specific degree of comfort, it’s essential to see their shortcomings when it comes to your overall well-being.

Should I do just at-home colorectal cancer screenings?

The availability of at-home colon cancer exams has left some speculating if there's a need to continue receiving routine colonoscopy exams when they can perform these simple screenings in the solitude of their own homes. Though the home screening may seem like a simple process to screen for early signs of cancer, it should not be interchangeable with a colonoscopy. The colonoscopy is an accurate screening of the large intestine and rectum performed by one of our Phoenix, AZ gastroenterologists who is trained to identify any indicators of an issue that may not be detected with a home stool specimen.

Get a colon cancer screening in Phoenix, AZ

As you advance in years, we implore you to be proactive about your wellness by keeping up with routine colon and rectal cancer exams. These cancer screenings are vitally essential to maintaining your gastrointestinal and general wellness and discovering indicators of colon cancer early. The experienced GI specialists at Arizona Digestive Health are highly skilled at diagnosing and helping to prevent colon and rectal cancer. For additional details on colorectal cancer, colonoscopies, or at-home exams, contact our GI office in Phoenix, AZ today.