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Colon Cancer Prevention

Comprehensive Colon Cancer Screening

Countless breakthroughs in modern technology and diagnostics make colon cancer detection more accessible than ever. Colon cancer screening can find colorectal polyps, cancer or both. People with certain risk factors should begin colon cancer screening earlier or have it done more often.

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Prevention and Screening Tests

Colon cancer screening tests can be used to:

  • Examine the structure of the colon and identify abnormal areas
  • Detect polyps
  • Detect cancer

Tests are done with a scope that is inserted into the rectum or with special imaging. Because polyps can be removed during tests, they are considered a colon cancer prevention method.


Tests include:

  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy. A thin, flexible, lighted tube with a small video camera on the end is put into the rectum to view it and the lower part of the colon. If an abnormality is seen, it can be biopsied or removed. Less than half of the colon can be seen with this procedure.
  • Colonoscopy. Similar to a flexible sigmoidoscopy, a colonoscopy allows the entire length of the colon and rectum to be viewed. Any abnormalities can be biopsied or removed.
  • Double-contrast barium enema. In this X-ray test, air and a chalky liquid called barium sulfate are put into the colon and rectum to outline the inner lining. If suspicious areas are identified, a colonoscopy will be recommended to explore them.
  • CT colonography. Also known as virtual colonoscopy, this test is an advanced type of computerized tomography (CT) scan of the colon and rectum. Special computer programs create both 2D and 3D views of the inside of the colon and rectum. This exam may be useful for people who cannot or do not want to have more invasive tests.

Stool Tests

There are also colorectal cancer screening tests that assess stool samples to detect signs of cancer. While they are less invasive and easier to have done, they are less likely to detect polyps.

These additional colorectal cancer screening tests include:

  • Fecal occult blood test (FOBT). This test detects hidden blood in the stool through a chemical reaction. It cannot tell if blood is from the colon or other parts of the digestive tract.
  • Fecal immunochemical test (FIT). Similar to an FOBT, this test detects hidden blood in the stool, but through a different chemical reaction.
  • Cologuard colon cancer test. This exam detects hidden blood in the stool as well as abnormal cells associated with colon cancer and precancerous polyps.

While a digital rectal exam (DRE) is often done as part of a regular physical examination, it should not be used as a stand-alone test for colorectal cancer. For a DRE, the doctor examines the patient’s rectum with a gloved finger.

Comprehensive Support for Colon Cancer

Talk to your doctor about your own risk and when you should have colon cancer screening tests and when colon cancer prevention measures should be taken.

To schedule a colon cancer screening, please call 973-200-7844.

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94 Old Short Hills Road
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300 Second Avenue
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(732) 222-5200
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99 Highway 37 West
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(732) 557-8000
Newark Beth Israel Medical Center
201 Lyons Avenue at Osborne Terrace
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(973) 926-7000
Jersey City Medical Center
355 Grand Street
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(201) 915-2000
RWJ University Hospital Rahway
865 Stone Street
Rahway, NJ 07065
(732) 381-4200
RWJ University Hospital Somerset
110 Rehill Avenue
Somerville, NJ 08876
(908) 685-2200
The Unterberg Children's Hospital at Monmouth Medical Center
300 2nd Avenue
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(732) 923-7250
RWJ University Hospital Hamilton
1 Hamilton Health Place
Hamilton, NJ 08690
(609) 586-7900
Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital
1 Robert Wood Johnson Place
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
(732) 828-3000
Monmouth Medical Center Southern Campus
600 River Avenue
Lakewood, NJ 08701
(732) 363-1900

Colon Cancer Prevention & Screening Treatment & Care

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