For Men’s Health Week: Screening for Prevention

Today starts Men’s Health Week and it is actually a great time for cancer prevention for men. You might not think so with all the controversy surrounding PSA testing, but we are making enormous leaps in the ability to detect cancers early when they are most treatable in two of the leading causes of cancer death in men – lung and colorectal.

Colorectal Cancer. We’ve had great screening options for colon and rectal cancers for years. Depending on your preferences and a conversation with your physician as to which test is best for you, there are three evidence-based approaches to colorectal cancer screening: fecal occult blood testing (FOBT or stool test), colonoscopy and flexible sigmoidoscopy.

1. FOBT is a non-invasive test that needs to be done every one to two years. If your FOBT test comes back positive (for blood), your doctor will send you for diagnostic testing, which is done via colonoscopy.

2. Colonoscopy can be both a screening test and a diagnostic test. In a colonoscopy, the entire colon and rectum are examined using a lighted scope. Precancerous and cancerous lesions can be biopsied and removed during the test. Colonoscopy typically requires some form of sedation and a thorough cleansing of the colon. Continue reading