Six Things Patients Should Be Aware Of Before Their First Colon Cancer Screening

It's important for patients to be informed when they go in for their first colon cancer screening. Going in for colon cancer screenings is an important part of staying healthy since colon cancer is one of the deadliest forms of cancer. 

The following are six things patients should be aware of before their first colon cancer screening. 

A colon cancer screening can save your life.

Colon cancer screenings may not be enjoyable experiences. However, it's important for patients to realize that they can be life-saving. Detecting precancerous polyps through colon cancer screening makes it possible to remove these polyps before they develop into cancerous cells. 

There are numerous types of colon cancer screenings to be aware of.

The most common type of colon cancer screening patients undergo is a colonoscopy. During this procedure, the doctor inserts a colonoscope into the patient's colon to look for polyps. If any polyps are found, the doctor can then immediately remove them. Other types of colon cancer screening include computer tomography or sigmoidoscopy. 

Some patients are eligible for what's known as a "virtual" colonoscopy.

During a virtual colonoscopy, or CT colonography, X-ray technology is used to detect polyps. This is generally a less invasive procedure than a standard colonoscopy. Some patients for whom anesthesia administration poses certain risks to are eligible for this type of procedure. 

Health insurance plans will generally cover colon cancer screening.

Patients should know that they shouldn't have to pay out of pocket for a colon cancer screening. Most insurance providers will cover colon cancer screenings because medical costs are much higher if a patient doesn't undergo screenings and then develops colon cancer. 

You'll need to follow your doctor's instructions for preparing for your screening.

There are numerous things that patients need to do to prepare for a colonoscopy screening. It's generally necessary for the patient's bowel to be empty during the procedure. Because of this, patients need to take a "prep" treatment to prepare for a colonoscopy that will ensure a clean bowel for the exam.

Doctors might have additional preparation instructions for patients undergoing a colon cancer screening. It's important for patients to understand all their doctor's instructions about preparing for their screening. 

You'll probably be instructed not to eat before your procedure.

In addition to taking prep for their colon cancer screening, patients also will need to fast between the time they take the prep and the time they have their screening done. Patients also are generally instructed not to drink anything for a few hours before their exam. 

For more information about colon cancer screening, contact a local medical service near you.