Why Do I Need A Cea Test
You may need this test if you’ve been diagnosed with cancer. Your health care provider may test you before you start treatment, and then regularly throughout the course of your therapy. This can help your provider see how well your treatment is working. You may also get a CEA test after you’ve completed treatment. The test can help show whether the cancer has come back.
How Accurate Is The Epi Procolon Test
An of the Epi proColon test was carried out in 2014. The tests overall sensitivity was 48.2%. However, specificity was higher at 91.5%.
Another 2014 study compared the Epi proColon test with another biomarker test for CRC that uses a stool sample. It found that the Epi proColon test had comparable sensitivity to the stool test, but its specificity was much lower.
A 2019 review noted that the Epi proColon test may increase CRC screening in people who decline screening by colonoscopy.
However, that review also raised concerns that some people may begin to opt for Epi proColon in lieu of other screening tests. Because Epi proColon has lower sensitivity it may miss some CRCs that could have been found using other methods.
CRC is increasing in younger people. As such, a 2022 study looked into Epi proColon as a less invasive way to screen for early-onset CRC. The researchers found that the test was quite sensitive and specific for this purpose.
What Is A Blood
Simply put, a blood-based biomarker test looks for signs of cancer-specific markers in the body. It uses a sample of blood collected from a vein in your arm to do this.
Cancer-specific markers are basically anything thats made by cancer cells or produced by your body in response to cancer. They often include proteins or specific changes related to nucleic acids .
Looking for these biomarkers can help inform a doctor about:
- whether cancer may be present
- if specific treatment types may be more effective for a cancer
- how well a current cancer treatment may be working
- estimates of cancer outlook
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Colorectal Cancer Screening: Are Stool And Blood Based Tests Good Enough
Chung-Wah Wu, Joseph Jao-Yiu Sung
Department of Medicine and Therapeutics, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
Colorectal cancer is the third commonest cancer worldwide. As many CRC patients were identified at advanced stages, screening asymptomatic individuals has substantial clinical benefit. Most CRC arises through recognizable early stage. With the improved understanding of the biology of CRC and precancerous lesion, testing molecular aberrations in stool and blood promises novel screening approaches that are noninvasive, sensitive, and more affordable compared with traditional structural examinations.
Key words: Colorectal cancer screening biomarkers stool
Submitted Oct 13, 2012. Accepted for publication Nov 19, 2012.
What Causes Colon Cancer
Like all types of cancer, colon cancer happens when cells grow and divide uncontrollably. All cells in your body are constantly growing, dividing and dying. Thats how your body remains healthy and working as it should. In colon cancer, cells lining your colon and rectum keep growing and dividing even when theyre supposed to die. These cancerous cells may come from polyps in your colon.
Medical researchers arent sure why some people develop precancerous colon polyps that become colon cancer. They do know certain risk factors increase peoples chances of developing precancerous polyps and colon cancer.
Those risk factors include certain medical conditions, including inherited conditions, and lifestyle choices. Having one or more risk factors for colon cancer doesnt mean youll develop the condition. It just means you have increased risk. Understanding risk factors may help you decide if you should talk to a healthcare provider about your risk of developing colon cancer.
Lifestyle choices that are risk factors for colon cancer
Medical conditions that increase colon cancer risk
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Screening Tests Have Risks
Decisions about screening tests can be difficult. Not all screening tests are helpful and most have risks. Different screening tests have different risks or harms. Screening tests may cause anxiety when you are thinking about or getting ready for the test or when there is a positive test result. Before having any screening test, you may want to discuss the test with your doctor. It is important to know the risks of the test and whether it has been proven to reduce the risk of dying fromcancer.
Talk to your doctor about your risk for colorectal cancer and the need for screening tests.
False-negative test results can occur.
False-positive test results can occur.
How Do Healthcare Providers Stage Colon Cancer
Healthcare providers use the TNM cancer staging system developed by the American Joint Committee on Cancer to stage colon cancer.
There are five stages of colon cancer. Three of the four stages have three sub-stages. The colon cancer staging system includes the following:
- Stage 0: Healthcare providers may refer to this as carcinoma in situ. When they do, theyre talking about abnormal or precancerous cells in your mucosa, the innermost layer of your colon wall.
- Stage I: Stage I colorectal cancer has grown into the wall of your intestine but hasnt spread beyond the muscular coat or into close lymph nodes.
- Stage II: The cancer has spread farther into the wall of your intestine but hasnt spread to nearby lymph nodes. There are three types of Stage II colon cancer:
- Stage III: In this stage, colon cancer has spread to your lymph nodes. Like Stage II colon cancer, there are three sub-stages of Stage III colon cancer:
- Stage IV: Cancer has spread to other areas of your body, such as your liver, lungs or ovaries:
Lab Tests Of Biopsy Samples
Biopsy samples are sent to the lab where they are looked at closely. If cancer is found, other lab tests may also be done on the biopsy samples to help better classify the cancer and possibly find specific treatment options.
Gene tests: If the cancer has spread , doctors will probably look for specific gene changes in the cancer cells that might help determine which drugs will be more helpful in treatment than others. For example, doctors now typically test the cancer cells for changes in the KRAS,NRAS, and BRAF genes. Patients whose cancers have mutations in these genes typically do not benefit from treatment with certain targeted therapy drugs. In the case of tumors that have the BRAF V600E mutation, they are not only less likely to respond to certain targeted drugs, but may need a different type of targeted drug added for treatment to work.
MSI and MMR testing: Colorectal cancer cells are typically tested to see if they show high levels of gene changes called microsatellite instability . Testing might also be done to see if the cancer cells have changes in any of the mismatch repair genes . EPCAM, another gene related to MSH2, is also routinely checked with the 4 MMR genes.
Changes in MSI or in MMR genes are often seen in people with Lynch syndrome . Most colorectal cancers do not have high levels of MSI or changes in MMR genes. But most colorectal cancers that are linked to Lynch syndrome do.
Diagnosis Of Colorectal Cancer
Diagnosis is the process of finding out the cause of a health problem. Diagnosing colorectal cancer usually begins with a visit to your family doctor. Your doctor will ask you about any symptoms you have and may do a physical exam. Based on this information, your doctor may refer you to a specialist or order tests to check for colorectal cancer or other health problems.
The process of diagnosis may seem long and frustrating. Its normal to worry, but try to remember that other health conditions can cause similar symptoms as colorectal cancer. Its important for the healthcare team to rule out other reasons for a health problem before making a diagnosis of colorectal cancer.
The following tests are usually used to rule out or diagnose colorectal cancer. Many of the same tests used to diagnose cancer are used to find out the stage . Your doctor may also order other tests to check your general health and to help plan your treatment.
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Blood Tests For Colorectal Cancer
No blood tests are recommended to be used for colorectal cancer screening at this time. However, your doctor may check your blood for tumor markers or biomarkers, proteins made in response to cancer. Tumor markers also may refer to mutations or changes in your cells that are indicative of certain cancers. To screen for average-risk adults aged 50 and older, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has also approved a blood-based biopsy, also called a liquid biopsy, that tests for a mutation in the SEPT9 gene.
Hemorrhoids Vs Colon Cancer: Whats The Difference
On the other hand, colon cancer is characterized as abnormal growths on the lining of the colon. When cells deviate from their natural grow-divide-die cycle, they can increase in size and even multiply. When left untreated, polyps can evolve into cancer.
Colon cancer also invades nearby lymph nodes. When blood from the intestine is carried to the liver, colon cancer may spread to the liver once it has targeted nearby lymph nodes.
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Why Is There Blood In The Stool
Rectal bleeding is a symptom common to both colon cancer and hemorrhoids. In the case of hemorrhoids, bleeding occurs when hard stool presses against the swollen hemorrhoid, causing it to bleed.
Similarly, patients with colon cancer also report rectal bleeding. Cancerous polyps tend to bleed more than healthy tissue, resulting in the presence of blood in the feces.
Unlike colon cancer, discomfort and bleeding usually go away in hemorrhoids cases after a couple of weeks. Symptoms persisting or worsening could be indicative of polyps in your colon.
What Does This Mean
The technology used in this study shows promise because of its reported accuracy in finding evidence of colorectal cancer at an early stage and even a pre-cancerous stage, when it is easier to treat successfully. Previous research has shown that the CTC blood testing found later stages of colorectal cancer. Currently, colorectal cancer is usually found through such tests as FOBT, colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, barium enema, or stool test. Though these methods are reliable, studies show that people can find them to be uncomfortable or inconvenient. A simple and accurate blood test could be an easier and more affordable screening option.
Next, the researchers plan to further test this liquid biopsy technique in additional studies in Taiwan and in the United States. According to the researchers, this blood test could eventually be used to screen for other types of cancer, such as breast, lung, and prostate cancers.
Our study is important because there is still some reticence among patients to use stool-based tests or have an invasive exam like colonoscopy to detect colorectal cancer. Our results may point to a solution.
lead study author Wen-Sy Tsai, MDLinkou Chang Gung Memorial HospitalTaipei, Taiwan
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Can Healthcare Providers Cure Colon Cancer
According to U.S. National Cancer Institute data, more than 90% of people treated for early-stage colorectal cancer were alive five years after diagnosis.
What are the survival rates for colon cancer?
NCI data shows that overall, 65% of people with colorectal cancer were alive five years after diagnosis.
Colorectal cancer survival rates vary based on the cancer stage at diagnosis. For example, 73% of people with colorectal cancer thats spread to nearby tissues, organs or lymph nodes were alive five years after diagnosis. That five-year survival rate drops to 17% if the cancer spreads to a distant organ or lymph node.
A survival rate is an estimate based on outcomes how long people lived after treatment for a specific type of cancer. In this case, survival rates are based on the experiences of large groups of people who have colorectal cancer, and not just colon cancer. In addition, many things affect colon cancer survival rates. If you have this condition, your healthcare provider is your best resource for information about what you can expect.
Types Of Colon Polyps
Polyps can grow in one of two shapes: stalk polyps or flat polyps, also known as pedunculated or sessile.
When a polyp is pedunculated, it grows into a mushroom shape, with a growth projected outwards attached to a long stalk. Polyps that are sessile are more difficult to detect and remove, as they grow flat against the mucous membrane or lining of the colon.
There are five common types of polyps, all of which should be removed during a colonoscopy for thorough testing. Some of them have a higher chance to develop into colon cancer than others. These types include:
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Colorectal Cancer Screening Patient Version
On This Page
Screening is looking for cancer before a person has any symptoms. This can help findcancer at an early stage. When abnormaltissue or cancer is found early, it maybe easier to treat. By the time symptoms appear, cancer may have begunto spread.
Scientists are trying to better understand whichpeople are more likely to get certain types of cancer. They also study the thingswe do and the things around us to see if they cause cancer. Thisinformation helps doctors recommend who should be screened for cancer, whichscreening tests should be used, and how often the tests should be done.
It is important to remember that your doctor does not necessarilythink you have cancer if he or she suggests a screening test. Screeningtests are given when you have no cancer symptoms. Screening tests may be repeated on a regular basis.
If a screening test result is abnormal, you may need to have more tests done to find out if you have cancer. These are called diagnostic tests.
Signs You Have Colon Cancer
Rectal bleeding is not the sole sign of colon cancer. In fact, symptoms exhibited by patients may vary. Below are the most common signs of colon cancer:
- A constant change in bowel movement including diarrhea and constipation
- Change in stool consistency
- Cramping, gas, and other forms of pain
- Consistent and progressive abdominal discomfort
- Fatigue and breathlessness
- Unprecedented weight loss
- Feeling bloated
- Inability to pass gas
The presence of blood in the stool is interpreted as an alarming sign of colon cancer. However, that alone is not a conclusive proof of colon cancer. Doctors usually require further testing to clearly establish the cause of the bleeding.
On the other hand, experiencing abnormal bleeding accompanied with one or more of the symptoms above require urgent medical attention. Various tests are available in order to rule out colon cancer.
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Permission To Use This Summary
PDQ is a registered trademark. The content of PDQ documents can be used freely as text. It cannot be identified as an NCI PDQ cancer information summary unless the whole summary is shown and it is updated regularly. However, a user would be allowed to write a sentence such as NCIs PDQ cancer information summary about breast cancer prevention states the risks in the following way: .
The best way to cite this PDQ summary is:
PDQ® Screening and Prevention Editorial Board. PDQ Colorectal Cancer Screening. Bethesda, MD: National Cancer Institute. Updated < MM/DD/YYYY> . Available at: . Accessed < MM/DD/YYYY> .
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Possible Risks Of Having A Blood Test
Blood sampling is a safe test. There is a possibility of:
- bleeding and bruising – pressing hard when the needle is removed can help to stop it
- pain – this is normally mild and can last for a few minutes
- swelling – ask your nurse, doctor or phlebotomist to avoid an arm that is swollen or has a risk of swelling
- feeling faint or fainting – tell the person doing your blood test if you’re feeling lightheaded or dizzy at any time
- infection – this is very rare
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