When you think “colorectal screening” — if you think about it at all — you probably think “colonoscopy.” That notorious exam is definitely the preferred method for uncovering polyps and cancer in the colon, but it comes with well-known downsides: the preparation (which involves no small amount of time in the bathroom), risk of complications like abdominal pain, and having to enlist a chaperone to drive you home after sedation.
Colonoscopy may be the preferred test, but it isn’t the only one. And with 70,000 new cases of colon cancer diagnosed each year in U.S. women, finding a test you’re comfortable with may make a life-or-death difference. Three other screening tests — flexible sigmoidoscopy, double contrast barium enema, and the new virtual colonoscopy — offer alternatives that might be right for your situation. Read more.