Colon Cancer Screening and Prevention in Arizona

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Colon and rectal cancer is typically one of the more preventable cancers. The rectum and colon are located in the large intestine, which will absorb water and nutrients from digested food, and holds solid waste before it's expelled from the body.

Screening for colon cancer is simply searching for polyps and growths that could be cancerous on the inside wall of the rectum and colon when no GI symptoms exist. A polyp is a noncancerous growth in the colon. Some of these may grow into cancer later on. Detecting and removing these polyps and any malignant tumors may help avoid difficulties and death caused by colorectal cancer.

Our experienced GI physicians routinely perform screenings for colon cancer for Phoenix, AZ residents. To arrange for a screening, contact Arizona Digestive Health today.

What are the benefits of a colon cancer screening?

Regular screenings for colon cancer are important to your general and digestive health. Some of the advantages of colorectal cancer screenings are:

  • Identify and extract precancerous growths (polyps) in the colon and rectum
  • Potentially diagnose colorectal cancer earlier
  • Potentially prevent colon cancer from developing
  • May be life-saving
  • Diagnose other GI conditions, like inflammatory bowel disease

Cancer of the colon or rectum may not carry signs or symptoms until the advanced stages. Undergoing screenings periodically can help diagnose any issues as soon as possible.

Individuals should ask their GI specialist at Arizona Digestive Health when they should go to their screenings and what tests to have. The tests listed below may be used for a colorectal cancer screening:

  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy: A sigmoidoscopy will be used to look at the inner lower colon and rectum. A tube about the size of a finger that has a camera (called a sigmoidoscope) will enter the rectum so we can take images of the inner wall as well as some of the colon. It can be used to take a biopsy of the polyp or tumor and remove some polyps. However, a colonoscopy needs to be completed to see the entire colon and get rid of all polyps and tumors. This procedure is fairly safe but there is a slight chance of bowel tearing, bleeding, and infection.
  • Colonoscopy: A colonoscope is like a sigmoidoscope, but it is longer and used to examine the inner wall of the entire colon. It is snaked through your rectum and the doctor can see a full view of the colon on our computer system. Specific tools may be passed through the colonoscope to take the biopsy and remove polyps. Sedation is required. There is a small risk of bowel tearing, bleeding, and infection after the procedure.
  • Fecal test: Fecal tests are performed with a fecal sample and are totally safe. These tests may not give confirmatory results but may suggest abnormalities in the gastrointestinal tract, necessitating more tests. A colonoscopy needs to be performed if results are positive, indicating the presence of cancerous growths in your colon. Our Phoenix, AZ gastroenterologists performed three types of fecal tests:
    • Fecal immunochemical tests detect blood through a certain immunochemical reaction of protein in the blood.
    • Stool DNA tests identify certain abnormal DNA genes from the cells shed from cancerous growths or polyps in the stool sample.
    • Fecal occult blood tests can detect blood in your feces that isn't visible to the eye through a chemical reaction.
  • Double-contrast barium enema: A thin tube is inserted into the rectum and barium sulfate, which is a liquid that is white and chalky, and air are pumped into your colon. The barium suspension lines the outer walls of the colon. X-rays of the colon will then be taken to show abnormalities on the inner wall of your colon. If abnormalities are identified, a colonoscopy will be required to remove the tumors or polyps.
  • Virtual colonoscopy: This is a CT scan of the colon. The person is asked to lie on our table where the CT scanner will take images of your colon. It is a noninvasive technique and doesn't require any sedation. If we find any abnormalities, a colonoscopy needs to be completed to extract the polyps or tumors.

The people who are at risk for colon cancer should undergo screenings more regularly. Risk factors for colon cancer include:

  • Individuals with a previous history of uterine, breast, or ovarian cancer
  • People over 45 years of age
  • Patients with close family members like parents, siblings, or children who have or had colon cancer
  • Individuals who have developed familial adenomatous polyposis, a condition where patients develop many polyps in their colon and rectum
  • People who have had colon cancer earlier in their life
  • Patients with a sedentary lifestyle, bad eating habits, and who smoke
  • Individuals with ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease

If you are at risk for colon cancer in Phoenix, AZ, then please reach out to our location to schedule regular colon cancer screenings at Arizona Digestive Health.

With regular screenings, colon cancer is often easily detected and prevented in its early stages. If you're over 45 or if you have had prior conditions that raise your risk of colon cancer, you should schedule a colon cancer screening. As a partner of a physician-led group of GI specialists who function with a patient-centric outlook, Arizona Digestive Health uses leading technology to maintain digestive health. To schedule a colorectal cancer screening in Phoenix, AZ, contact our location soon.

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Why are colon cancer screenings important?

Colorectal cancer typically develops from abnormal growths in the colon or rectum called polyps. During a colonoscopy screening, these premalignant polyps can be excised to help lessen the risk of and possibly prevent colon cancer development. Undergoing regular colon cancer screenings may also allow doctors to find cancer that has already developed. When colon cancer is diagnosed in the early stages, it may be simpler to address.

When should you begin colon cancer screenings?

Adults who have an average risk of developing this disease should begin regular colorectal cancer screenings when they turn 45. Those carrying an increased risk may need to begin screenings earlier. Your GI specialist can advise you on exactly when you should start undergoing colon cancer screenings.

How frequently should I get a screened for colon cancer?

The frequency with which you should undergo colon cancer exams may depend on the type of evaluation being conducted. In general, adults who are 45 years old and over should have a colonoscopy once every decade when they are at average risk for colon cancer and experience normal colonoscopy results. People with a significantly high risk are advised to have colonoscopy exams at least once every five years. Please talk to your GI physician for more information on how frequently you should have colorectal cancer screenings.

How can I prepare for a colorectal cancer screening?

The best way to prep for a colorectal cancer screening will depend on the type of screening scheduled. For a colonoscopy, detailed information on how to prepare will be provided by your gastroenterology team before your scheduled procedure to clean out your colon. Your GI specialist may also give you specific instructions to follow for several days leading up to your exam. It is essential to abide by your physician's directions to help ensure they can identify any areas of concern during your colorectal cancer screening.

As colonoscopies go, and me being high risk for colon cancer at a young age, I have sever anxiety. I want to know that my doctor is caring and most importantly competent. I admit I had concerns about Dr. Volcano's age (he looks sooo young) but he is both caring and competent in his field and I would recommend him to anyone in need of a good gastroenterologist.

H.C. Google

I’ve been going to Dr. Stein for over 15 years, maybe 20. He is a great Doctor. Very caring and takes the time to listen. He diagnosed my Mother with Colon Cancer and was so calm & caring. Immediately referred us to an oncologist & Surgeon. I have been in the hospital many times ( for other reasons) and have asked for consult with him and he does his own visits and responded right away. I would not hesitate to use him.

K.G. Google

I absolutely LOVED this Doctor. He was so nice and polite. He told me that he was going to take good care of me. I really needed that as I have had colon cancer in the past. His staff was professional and nice as well. I have complete confidence in Dr. Umar

L.S. Google

Honan and Suzie are the best!! Honan reassures me... completely professional and kind with a medical plan in place I’m willing to follow... not the easiest patient..... I am a nurse and I saw the way he treated patients and cared for them... So I asked him to be my GI doctor as I thought I was dying from colon cancer... I have ulcerative colitis... dr Honan is the best the best!!!! dr honan saved my life.... twice!!!! MERCI!

M.L. Google

It's obvious the unhappy people are the ones who post the most reviews. I needed to begin working on getting an appointment for another colonoscopy. I was very surprised to see only three reviews and all of them negative. Myself as well as several long time acquaintances have used Dr. Chokshi for years. He's first rate!! I literally trust him with my life. Colon cancer is a major killer. I wanted to post something positive for him to give another perspective.

L.E. Google


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