The most common test to detect the presence of colon cancer is the colonoscopy. Though most doctors and health care providers recommend a colon cancer screening for their patients over the age of fifty, many don’t heed that advice due to the screening process itself.
A colonoscopy is an invasive method of screening in which a flexible camera is used to examine the colon. This type of screening requires special preparations and can often cause the patient to miss at least some time from work or activities.
Researchers have been doing work on a new method of colon cancer screening that is not only completely non-invasive but that can be performed at home with no special preparations. The test, called DNA methylation, is a stool test and the clinical studies have been very promising in terms of detection rates.
Further research will need to be conducted prior to DNA methylation becoming a more widely used method of screening, but the preliminary findings are very promising. It’s very likely that if patients are presented with a completely non-invasive screening method that more will be willing to take part, which could result in earlier detection of many colon cancer cases.
An estimated one in 17 people will be diagnosed with colon cancer at some point during their lives. Following health care provider advice and undergoing a screening, even an invasive procedure like the colonoscopy, can help to detect colon cancer in the early stages when it’s the most treatable.