Colon Cancer Screening in New Orleans, LA

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Colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer, yet it is also one of the most preventable. The colon and rectum make up the large intestine, which absorbs water and some nutrients from digested food and stores solid waste until it is expelled from the body.

A colon cancer screening involves looking for polyps and cancerous growths on the inner wall of the colon and rectum when there are no gastrointestinal symptoms. Polyps are noncancerous growths that can become cancerous over time. Early detection and removal of these polyps and malignant tumors can prevent complications and death due to colon cancer.

The board-certified gastroenterologists at Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates routinely perform colon cancer screenings and encourage all patients to begin these screenings at age 45. To arrange a screening, please contact one of our New Orleans, LA locations in your community.

What are the benefits of colon cancer screenings?

Routine screenings for colon and rectal cancer are crucial for maintaining both general and gastrointestinal health. While various screening methods, such as stool testing, are available, a colonoscopy remains the only preventive strategy for colorectal cancer. Several benefits of colorectal cancer screenings include:

  • Can be a life-saving exam
  • Potentially detect colon or rectal cancer early on
  • Identify and remove polyps in the colon and rectum
  • Potentially prevent the development of colon cancer
  • Detect other gastrointestinal issues, such as inflammatory bowel disease

Cancer of the colon may not exhibit signs or symptoms until it has progressed. Regular screenings help your doctor identify any concerns or conditions as early as possible.

People should consult their GI doctor to determine the appropriate time for screening and which tests to undergo. One or more of the following tests may be used for colon cancer screening:

  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy: This involves using a sigmoidoscope to view the inside of the rectum and lower colon. A thick, finger-sized tube with a camera is inserted into the rectum, allowing the doctor to see images of the inner wall of the rectum and part of the colon on a monitor. It can be used to take biopsies and remove some polyps, but a colonoscopy is needed to view the entire colon and remove all polyps or tumors. This procedure is fairly safe but carries a small risk of bowel tear, bleeding, and infection.

  • Colonoscopy: Similar to a sigmoidoscope but longer, a colonoscope examines the entire colon. Inserted through the rectum, it allows the doctor to see images of the entire colon on a monitor. Special surgical tools can be passed through the colonoscope to take biopsies and remove polyps. Sedation is required, and there is a small risk of bowel tears, bleeding, or infection after the procedure. This is the only preventive strategy for colorectal cancer.

  • Virtual colonoscopy: This is a computed tomography (CT) scan of the colon. The patient lies on a CT scanner table, which takes cross-sectional images of the colon. It is noninvasive and does not require sedation. If abnormalities are found, a colonoscopy is needed to remove polyps or tumors.

  • Double-contrast barium enema: A small tube is inserted into the rectum, and barium sulfate (a white chalky liquid) and air are pumped into the colon. The barium lines the outer walls of the colon, and X-ray images are taken to reveal abnormalities. If abnormalities are found, a colonoscopy is needed to remove polyps or tumors.

  • Fecal tests: These are safe tests done with a stool sample. While fecal tests may not provide confirmatory results, they can suggest gastrointestinal abnormalities, warranting further tests. A colonoscopy is necessary if results are positive, indicating the presence of cancerous growth in the colon. There are three types of fecal tests:

    • Fecal occult blood tests: Detect blood in the feces that is not visible to the naked eye through a chemical reaction
    • Fecal immunochemical tests: Detect blood through a specific immunochemical reaction of a protein in the blood and can identify hidden blood
    • Stool DNA tests: Look for certain abnormal DNA genes in cells shed from cancerous growths or polyps in the stool sample
  • People over 45 years of age
  • Those with inherited familial adenomatous polyposis, a condition causing numerous polyps in the colon and rectum
  • Individuals who have previously had colon cancer
  • Women with a history of breast, ovarian, or uterine cancer
  • People with close family members (parents, siblings, or children) who have or had colon cancer
  • Individuals with ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease
  • Those with a sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy eating habits, or who smoke

With regular screenings, colon cancer can be detected and prevented in its early stages. If you are over 45 or have other risk factors for colon cancer, you can schedule your screenings at Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates. This physician-led network of gastroenterologists prioritizes patient care and utilizes the latest technology to support digestive health. To learn more about colon cancer screenings, contact one of our New Orleans, LA locations today.

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Why are colon cancer screenings important?

Cancer of the colon often begins from abnormal growths in the colon or rectum referred to as polyps. During a colonoscopy exam, these precancerous growths can be removed to help lower the risk of and possibly prevent colorectal cancer development. Routine colorectal cancer screenings can also allow physicians to diagnose cancer that is already present. If colorectal cancer is detected in the early stages, it can be simpler to address.

When should you start scheduling colon cancer screenings?

People with an average risk should start having regular colorectal cancer screenings upon turning 45. Those carrying a higher risk might need to screen even earlier. Your gastrointestinal specialist can help you identify when you should start screenings for colorectal cancer.

How often should I get a colon cancer screening?

The frequency with which individuals should have colon cancer exams may depend on the type of exam being conducted. Generally, those who are 45 years old and over should undergo a colonoscopy screening once every decade when they are of average risk of developing colon cancer and experience colonoscopies with normal results. Patients with a significantly high risk are advised to have colonoscopy screenings a minimum of once every five years. To learn how frequently you should have a colorectal cancer screening, please consult your gastrointestinal provider.

How should I prep for my colon cancer screening?

The preparation process for a colon cancer screening will vary according to the type of screening you will receive. Before a colonoscopy screening, detailed prep instructions will be provided to you by your gastroenterology team before your exam to clear your colon. Your gastroenterologist may also provide specific instructions to follow in the days prior to your screening. It is imperative to comply with your GI provider's instructions to help make sure they can catch any concerns when conducting your colon cancer screening.

This Dr. Is awesome. In 2018 I was diagnosed with colon cancer and if it was not for Dr. Reddy going with his gut feeling it probably would have advance, but he was able see it was a early start of the cancer. I do thank him for going with his gut feeling. This Dr. really cares about his patients.

S.S. Google

I needed to have my first routine colonoscopy and as you can imagine, I was not looking forward to it. I have heard stories about the prep and procedure and had put it off several times. I finally set the appointment with Dr Mayer and had a great consultation prior to the procedure. He laid out all of the information I needed and we scheduled the procedure. His staff was helpful, attentive, and very professional. All went well according to the plan and I can say I’m all clear until the next routine procedure. Get on it guys. The only way to prevent colon cancer is early detection. Don’t put it off. It was nowhere near as bad as the stories I had heard. Dr Mayer and his team will take good care of you.

D.H. Google

Dr.Mayer saved my mom’s life 26 yrs ago and mine as well. We have a family history of colon cancer. My mom had cancer and Dr. Mayer took care of her. No radiation or kemo. Mom is now 75 and going strong. He recommended I get tested early at 28 and I had polyps and caught them before they spreaded and now I’m doing well and get my check ups regular. I thank God for him and his knowledge. He’s like family now and treats you like fam. You couldn’t make a better choice!

L.L. Google

Dr. Brenner has been my gastro doctor for 12 years. My dad had Colon Cancer so I’ve been screening since 40. He has excellent bedside manners. When my mom needed one I referred her to him!! He’s the best!

T.A. Google

I've been seeing Dr. Catinis for the past 15 years because of a family history of colon cancer and various other GI related problems. He's always been very compassionate and caring and always takes the time to explain what he believes the medical problem is and what treatment he recommends and why (not that I always like what he has to say about diet and weight loss!). In my opinion he's a great physician.

K.B. Google


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