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Health care providers agree that the best way to screen for colon cancer is with a colonoscopy. This is the only way to truly look at the colon to identify polyps and remove them before they have a chance to grow into cancer. In this way, a colonoscopy actually prevents colon cancer! No other screening tests can do that, which is why colonoscopy remains the best choice.
Colon cancer screening is appropriate for:
Some people, however, are hesitant to have a colonoscopy, fearing the preparation, or perhaps the procedure itself. For some patients, a non-invasive screening option may be offered.
If you are one of those individuals who would put off screening to avoid a colonoscopy, please talk with your doctor. There are some less invasive, more appealing alternatives available for some people who are not otherwise at high risk.
The following is an overview of each of the less invasive screening tools available.
It is my hope that every person will be screened for colon cancer at the recommended age or based on past medical or family history. Remember, the best way to screen for and prevent colon cancer is with a colonoscopy.
Dr. Amanda Pressman is a gastroenterologist in the Center for Women’s Gastrointestinal Medicine at the Women’s Medicine Collaborative and director of the Gastroesophageal and Rectal Motility Laboratory at Lifespan. She is also co-director of the Program for Pelvic Floor Disorders and the GI Disorders in Pregnancy Program. Dr. Pressman is an assistant professor of medicine and directs the fellowship pathway in women’s gastrointestinal diseases at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.