Bowel cancer has the second highest mortality amongst all cancer types. It can either affect the colon or the rectum, and starts when the cells in your body begin dividing uncontrollably and form tumors. Many times bowel cancer starts with the formation of polyps, which are pre-cancerous growths, but this does not mean that all polyps will develop into cancerous tissue.
As with many cancers, bowel cancer screening is done to detect early signs of cancer in healthy individuals. If discovered early, 90% of bowel cancers can be successfully treated.
There are a few different ways to screen for bowel cancer:
Home screening kits: In keeping with the importance of early screening, many countries offer free screening kits for their citizens over the age of 50 (can differ slightly from country to country). These can either be a Faecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) or a Faecal Immunochemical Test (FIT). They test for the presence of blood in your stool, which could be a symptom of cancer.
Colonoscopy: In case your screening test results come back positive or vague the next step will probably be a colonoscopy. A colonoscopy is a procedure in which a small camera attached to a thin flexible lighted tube is inserted through your bottom to view your bowel. Through a colonoscopy, your bowel can be visualised in more detail and polyps can be detected easily. The entire procedure takes no more than half an hour, but since you will be sedated it may take 1-2 hours for the sedation to wear off.
Bowel Scope Screening or Flexible Sigmoidoscopy: This is similar to a colonoscopy but only examines the lower part of your bowel, up to the sigmoid whereas a colonoscopy looks at the entire bowel.
You know your body best, and should take responsibility for taking care of it. Your health is essential to your well-being, and undergoing regular screening tests is a part of it. Sign up for free screening kits if you are eligible, or get in contact with your health insurance provider to know whether a screening is covered.
We here at Qunomedical partner with several accredited clinics across the world that offer colonoscopies at prices that fit every budget. Listed below are some of our clinics:
It has been shown that regular bowel cancer screening reduces the risk of dying by 16%.
So what are you waiting for? Now is the time to take charge of your health!
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The information in this article is for educational purposes only and does not replace medical advice. Always consult your doctor before starting any treatments.