The best test for colon cancer screening is a colonoscopy. This is performed every 10 years for most patients. A gastroenterologist performs the procedure in a same day surgery center under sedation by passing a flexible fiber optic telescope into the colon to look for polyps or cancers. While nearly all patients are initially apprehensive about undergoing what sounds like an uncomfortable procedure, most actually report that the colonoscopy is not particularly painful or unpleasant.
Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS)
In an Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS), a flexible fiber optic endoscope is passed through either the mouth or rectum. The EUS scope is equipped with ultrasound technology to help assess tissues below the lining of the gastro intestinal tract. The ultrasound component uses sound waves to create a picture of the underlining tissues to assess possible tumors of the esophagus, stomach, pancreas, gallbladder, liver, and colon. It is also used to evaluate abdominal pain and diseases of the pancreas, such as pancreatitis, and gallbladder, like gallstones and bile duct obstructions.
The physician also has the ability to obtain fine needle aspirates of abnormal tissues for pathology.
These combined medical techniques enhance the physician's ability to stage tumors with up to 90% accuracy and identify tumor pathologies to enable the patient and their doctors to determine various treatment options.
Upper endoscopy is the direct visualization of the esophagus, stomach, and proximal duodenum using a flexable fiber optic endoscope.
This procedure allow the physician to diagnose, treat, and document any abnormalities of the upper gastrointestinal tract. Unlike colonoscopies, upper endoscopies are not done for screening purposes. This procedure is done but not limited to the assessment of symptoms of acid reflux (GERD), gastric or duodenal ulcers, difficulty swallowing, unexplained chest or abdominal pain, weight loss, or anemia.