The big change was a two-pronged gain against colorectal cancer. It remains the nation's No. 2 cancer killer, deaths are dropping faster for colorectal cancer than for any other malignancy — by almost 5 percent a year among men and 4.5 percent among women.
Colorectal cancer fact sheet
The following table outlines some of the advantages and disadvantages of the colorectal cancer screening tests described in this fact sheet.
|Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT)|
|Double Contrast Barium Enema(DCBE)|| |
|Digital Rectal Exam (DRE)|| |
New tests for colorectal cancer screening are under study. For example, virtual colonoscopy (also called computed tomographic colonography) is a procedure that uses special x-ray equipment to produce pictures of the colon. A computer then assembles these pictures into detailed images that can show polyps and other abnormalities. Because it is less invasive and does not require sedation, virtual colonoscopy may cause less discomfort and take less time than conventional colonoscopy. However, as with conventional colonoscopy and DCBE, thorough preparation of the colon is necessary before the test.
Genetic testing of stool samples is also under study as a possible way to screen for colorectal cancer. The lining of the colon is constantly shedding cells into the stool. Testing stool samples for genetic alterations that occur in colorectal cancer cells may help doctors find evidence of cancer or precancerous polyps. Research conducted thus far has shown that this test can detect colorectal cancer in people already diagnosed with this disease by other means. However, more studies are needed to determine whether the test can detect colorectal cancer or precancerous polyps in people who do not have symptoms.