The following testing methods are widely used when checking
for gastrointestinal diseases including colorectal cancer (click for a brief
This procedure can be uncomfortable for the patient. Sometimes, full anesthesia or intravenous medicine is given to make the patient feel drowsy. The colonoscope, which is a tube about 1 inch in diameter, is inserted into the rectum enabling the physician to check the inside of the colon for polyps or cancerous tissue. Small pieces of tissue can be removed through the colonoscope and can be tested for cancer through a lab.
- Flexible Sigmoidoscopy
Similar to the procedure for a colonoscopy a tube of about 2 feet in length and about 1 inch in diameter is inserted into the rectum, which allows the physician to check the rectum and half of the colon.
- Barium Enema
With this method x-rays, can be taken of the colon. For this test, special laxatives are taken the night before the procedure to fill the colon with a white substance and also pump air in to expand it.
- Traditional fecal occult blood test (guaiac method)
The typical fecal occult blood test (FOB test) has evolved from technology that was introduced in 1958 by Dr. Eric Mueller. Though the tests have changed since the idea came to inception, the principle is still the same. Testing for the presence of blood in stool is accomplished by impregnating test paper with certain chemicals. After a stool sample has been placed onto the test paper, a developer solution is then applied, which causes a chemical reaction indicating the presence of blood in stool. The test is usually provided by a physician to the patient, who collects 2-3 stool samples from 3 bowel movements at home and delivers them to the physician (by mail or in person) for development.
This testing method requires the patient to adhere to strict dietary restrictions to avoid positive test results due to the presence of blood from other sources. For example, if a steak is consumed the night before the stool is taken, the test will be positive. There is a list of other foods, medications and vitimins that should not be ingested before testing to avoid distorting the result.
The restrictions placed upon the individual performing the test also affect compliance rates for testing. Many people make mistakes in their efforts to comply with dietary restrictions or simply do not want to go through the effort it takes to ensure the test is completed properly. Moreover, the time involved in testing (visiting the physician, taking 3 stool samples, mailing them back or delivering them in person and then waiting for results) is another impediment.
- New fecal occult blood test (immunological method)
ColonCARE, which utilizes a new immunological testing method for fecal occult blood, recently recieved FDA clearance. This new method has several distinct advantages over the traditional guaiac tests:
- Dietary restrictions are no longer necessary. Accordingly, the test can be performed any time without preparation. For example, eating a steak before performing the test does not influence the test results whatsoever.
- The test is very sensitive, which means that very small amounts of human blood are detected. It is no longer necessary to collect 2-3 stool samples from 3 different bowel movements; one bowel movement is sufficient for the collection of the stool samples.
- Test results are available in only 5 minutes.
- The test is easy to perform. It can be purchased over the counter and is approved for home-use. A visit to a physician is no longer necessary.
- The costs are drastically reduced, since a visit to a physician is no longer required.
More important: All of these advantages can be achieved while simultaneously more than doubling the accuracy (technically called sensitivity) compared with guaiac tests.
ColonCARE is also approved for usage by hospitals, physicians and other medical professionals.
Compared with a colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy, the ColonCARE test offers an inexpensive and accurate testing method, without any possible side effects. One does not feel "uncomfortable", no accompanying medicine is needed and no special preparation beforehand is required. Moreover, the test is approved for usage in the privacy of people's homes whenever it may be suitable and convenient.
Up to this point, testing for colon cancer (or other possible gastrointestinal disorders) has involved unpleasant procedures. Now, with the recently FDA cleared ColonCARE test, testing has become easy to perform. The user can choose the most convenient day, time and location, while simultaneously assuring reliability and accuracy.