Answered by: Dr Sri Viknarajan
I am a 58 year old man with family history of colon cancer. Noticed streaks of red blood in stool. I have no other discomforts. I am worried that I may have colon cancer. Do I have colon cancer??? Pls help
I understand your concerns and I will try to assist you today.
For your information, colorectal cancer is the most important gastrointestinal malignancy. There are 3 locations where colorectal cancer can occur :
If these symptoms are present and colorectal cancer is suspected, several investigations can be done such colonoscopy (gold standard and most commonly done), double contrast barium enema (if colonoscopy can’t be done), rectal ultrasound, ultrasound of abdomen (to check for spread of tumour), CT scan of chest and abdomen (to check for spread of tumour) and chest X-ray (to check for spread of tumour).
CEA (blood marker for colon cancer) levels are not recommended in the asymptomatic individuals as a screening method. For high-risk patients (strong family history - two or more relatives with colon cancer or relatives who have had cancer at ages younger than 40) with no symptoms, digital rectal examination and faecal occult blood testing should be done as early as age 35 yearly.
Total colonoscopy or contrast barium enema and sigmoidoscopy should be performed at age 40 and then repeated every three to five years with yearly faecal occult blood tests. FOBT can be done at any government/private hospital or even at selected clinics.
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