Colonoscopy vs. Home Colorectal Cancer Screenings: What Is the Difference?

Summary: Understand the difference between colonoscopies and at-home colon cancer tests and why regular screenings are important for protecting your health.

As we age, it's essential to sustain our wellness by receiving routine health exams, such as colon cancer screenings. This simple exam can identify indications of colon and rectal cancer and inhibit colorectal cancer development. With new innovations, however, individuals can test themselves for colorectal cancer from the comfort of their homes. At Hinsdale Gastroenterology Associates, our gastrointestinal (GI) doctors encourage patients to learn about colon cancer warning signs and to keep up with routine exams to maintain their overall health. With the prevalence of home-based testing increasing, it's critical to know the distinctions between an at-home test and a colonoscopy performed by one of our trained GI specialists in Hinsdale, IL.

Do I need to test for colon cancer?

It's essential to look after your health and wellness earnestly, and we applaud you for being proactive by increasing your colorectal cancer awareness. Colorectal cancer tests are crucial for every individual as they advance in years; however, they're particularly essential for people who have certain factors of risk, such as family members who have had colorectal cancer. Some men and women choose to use a home colon and rectal cancer test, as they are less intrusive and more convenient. Still, regular colonoscopy exams at Hinsdale Gastroenterology Associates are more precise than home kits and vitally critical to discover and address colorectal cancer as early as possible.

When you have family members who have had colorectal cancer, are at least 45 or more, or suffer any of the symptoms outlined below, we recommend that you reach out to Hinsdale Gastroenterology Associates to make an appointment with a colonoscopy doctor.

Concerning signals of colorectal cancer include:

  • Shifts in bowel habits
  • Inexplicable weight loss
  • The sense that your bowels won't entirely empty
  • Blood in your stool
  • New abdominal cramps, pain, or gas

Colonoscopy vs. at-home kits for colorectal cancer

It's crucial in your physical health journey to recognize the distinction between a colonoscopy and an at-home test, as both provide certain levels of information. At Hinsdale Gastroenterology Associates, we advise all patients age 45 and over to get a colonoscopy roughly every ten years to screen for colon cancer and further problems. Based on your or your family's history, we may suggest that you get tested sooner or more frequently. While performing a colonoscopy, our GI physicians will look for changes or abnormalities in the colon and rectum with a small camera. If any polyps or suspicious areas are identified, we can extract these during your colonoscopy and conduct a biopsy. The entire exam generally takes between 30 – 60 minutes.

A home test grants a convenient way for people to screen for early signs of colorectal cancer from the comfort of their own homes. This method is less invasive and normally only requires mailing in a stool sample for examination. It can seem like an effortless approach to continue to be on top of your health and wellness, especially if colon and rectal cancer is prevalent in your family. Although at-home colon and rectal cancer screenings may offer a certain level of convenience, it's crucial to understand their limitations with respect to your health.

Should I do only home colorectal cancer kits?

The availability of home colorectal cancer screenings has left some patients speculating if there's a need to continue receiving periodic colonoscopy exams when they can conduct easy exams in the comfort of their homes. Though the at-home exam may seem like a convenient process to screen for early signs of cancer, it should not replace a colonoscopy. Colonoscopy exams are accurate screenings of the large intestine conducted by one of our Hinsdale, IL gastrointestinal specialists who is trained to recognize any markers of a problem that might not be apparent with an at-home stool sample.

Get a colon and rectal cancer exam in Hinsdale, IL

As you advance in years, we ask you to take control of your health by maintaining standard colorectal cancer screenings. These cancer exams are fundamentally important to preserving your intestinal and comprehensive wellness and identifying indicators of colorectal cancer sooner. The board-certified gastroenterologists at Hinsdale Gastroenterology Associates are highly skilled at diagnosing and helping to stop colon cancer. For more details on colorectal cancer, colonoscopies, or home kits, please contact our gastroenterology office in Hinsdale, IL today.