Why Polyps Bleed And Other Polyp Symptoms
Most polyps display no symptoms, and can exist in the colon for years, if not decades, undetected. However, there are cases when a candidate for colon cancer finds themselves with blood in their stool. This can be caused by a bleeding polyp, which is generally produced by larger growths along the colon lining:
Other symptoms of polyps include:
- Darkening or reddening color of the stool
- Pain in the abdomen, which is caused by large polyps partially blocking the bowel, making it difficult for the stool to pass
- Anemia caused by iron deficiency, as the chronic bleeding in the stool takes away the iron the body needs for proper oxygen transportation in the body
Are There Any Risks To The Test
There are no risks to having a fecal occult blood test or a stool DNA test.
Serious risks of colonoscopy are rare but can include:
- Tears in the colon or rectum wall
- Reaction to the sedative
There are fewer risks to sigmoidoscopy than with a colonoscopy. Tears in the colon and bleeding can happen, but they are even less common than with a colonoscopy.
In a virtual colonoscopy, risks include:
- Exposure to a small dose of radiation from the scan.
- Rarely, a tear in the colon or rectum can happen when it is inflated with air.
Colon Cancer And White Blood Cell Count
White blood cells are produced in the bone marrow and are easily detectable in blood tests. A specific type of white blood cell called the neutrophil is responsible for warding off infections and destroying harmful cells.
The normal neutrophil count is 1,000/1 microliter. A deficiency in neutrophils is called neutropenia. This is caused by severe infections that are too invasive.
On the other hand, neutrophil production can also be stalled by the presence of cancer. Cancer treatments can also affect neutrophil count due to radiation exposure. Keeping track of your neutrophil count can help you understand how your body works.
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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:
Stool Vs Blood Tests For Colon Cancer Diagnosis
The most well-known and physician-recommended screening test for colon cancer is a colonoscopy. It is most often preferred over other screening tests because of the ability for the practicing physician to be able to detect and remove polyps during the procedure. However, the number of eligible adults who are not getting screened for cancer has prompted many physicians to offer options to their patients along with a colonoscopy. Stool-based kits are often prescribed to patients who are hesitant to get a colonoscopy and are at a low to average risk for colon cancer. These tests are done at home and do not require the complicated bowel cleansing or any form of sedation to screen for colon cancer. At home stool tests ask for a small sample of stool that is then analyzed in a lab for evidence of blood that may indicate the presence of a precancerous polyp or colon cancer.
Another new approach to colorectal cancer screening is the use of blood tests that detect the presence of cellular markers in the bloodstream. Polyps and tumors in the colon shed cells that are absorbed into the bloodstream. These cells are called circulating tumor cells and are made up of epithelial cells that are associated with colorectal tumors and adenomas.
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Who Should Get Tested For Colon Cancer
Screening for colon cancer usually begins at age 45. A colon cancer blood work becomes part of the annual physical exam, especially for those who are genetically susceptible to the condition.
Also, people diagnosed with Crohns disease, ulcerative colitis, and obesity should secure a colon cancer blood test along with other essential screening procedures.
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.
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Is The Epi Procolon Test Covered By Insurance
Whether the Epi proColon test is covered depends on the type of insurance you have. Its a good rule of thumb to check in with your insurance provider if youre ever unsure about whether a particular test is covered.
For example, Medicare states that theyll cover an approved blood-based biomarker screening for CRC once every 3 years.
However, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services , which administers Medicare, has said that the Epi proColon test doesnt meet its sensitivity and specificity criteria for coverage.
Gallbladder Or Liver Enlargement
If the cancer blocks the bile duct, bile can build up in the gallbladder, making it larger. Sometimes a doctor can feel this during a physical exam. It can also be seen on imaging tests.
Pancreatic cancer can also sometimes enlarge the liver, especially if the cancer has spread there. The doctor might be able to feel the edge of the liver below the right ribcage on an exam, or the large liver might be seen on imaging tests.
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When Should I See My Healthcare Provider
Follow-up colon cancer care varies depending on the cancer stage. For example, people who have surgery for Stage 0 or Stage I colon cancer may have a colonoscopy one year after surgery, another colonoscopy three years after surgery and a third five years after surgery.
Unless the follow-up colonoscopies find signs of cancer, someone with Stage 0 or Stage 1 colon cancer may be able to wait several more years before having another colonoscopy.
People successfully treated for Stage II or Stage III colon cancer will need to see their healthcare provider every three to six months for the first two years after treatment and are typically followed for five years from surgery. They may have tests including colonoscopies, CEA blood tests and imaging tests.
Anyone recovering from colon cancer treatment should contact their healthcare provider if they notice changes that may indicate the cancer has come back or is spreading.
When should I go to the emergency room?
If youre receiving colon cancer treatment, ask your healthcare provider about symptoms that may be signs you should go to the emergency room. You may need to go to the emergency room if you have:
- Side effects that are more intense than you expected.
- A fever higher than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit .
- Chills that dont go away.
- Severe abdominal pain.
Is It Common To See Blood In The Urine
No. The presence of blood in the urine is usually a sign of bladder cancer, not colon cancer. If you suspect having or have been diagnosed with colon cancer but observe blood in your urine, this might be a sign of further complications not related to your colon.
Bladder cancer can be identified through various urine tests, one of them being cytology. Frequent urination, pain during urination, and the inability to pass urine are all signs of bladder cancer.
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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
Colon Cancer Blood Tests
Colon cancer is the second deadliest cancer in the US, according to the American Cancer Society. Yet, it is highly curable and one of the easiest cancers to detect via colon cancer blood test.
Also Known As Blood Cell Count, Complete Blood Count with Differential, CBC, or Full Blood Count. What is the Purpose
Also known as Complete Metabolic Panel, CMP, Chemistry 14, Chem 14, Chemistry Panel, or Chemistry Screen. What is the Purpose
Also Known As: Healthy Male Checkup Test, Male Health Test, Male Panel The Purpose of a Blood Test for Men Its
Also Known As: Liver Function Panel , HFP The Purpose of the Liver Function Panel Lab Test The hepatic function panel blood
A urinalysis is a routine test that is used to check the urine pH, color, and appearance, as well
Our cancer panel for men is a screening test that measures any abnormal tumor markers you may have. Tumor markers
The Comprehensive Iron Profile is used to measure the amount of iron in your body as well as your
Our cancer blood test for woman is a screening test that measures any abnormal tumor markers you may have.
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Detects low haemoglobin that might be due to deficiency of iron, vitamin B12, folate or due to chronic malabsorption
When it comes to cancer, the chances of higher remission depend on early detection. And colon cancer is no exception to this principle.
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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.
Red Blood Cell Count And Bleeding Polyps
Blood tests look at hemoglobin levels in red blood cells. This protein is responsible for bringing fresh oxygen into the blood and transporting it throughout the body. A dysfunction in red blood cells is called anemia.
Anemic people have symptoms such as:
- Difficulty breathing
- Heart palpitations
Anemia is caused by multiple abnormalities, including cancer itself. Bleeding polyps can worsen over time. When this happens, the survival rate of patients with cancer is threatened. Anemia deprives the body of fresh oxygen, which in turn affects the bodys capability to cope with cancer treatments.
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Polyps And Colon Cancer
An important part of diagnosing colon cancer revolves around the investigation of existing colon polyps in the digestive system. Colon polyps are cell clumps that can be found along the lining of the colon. While most polyps are benign, a small percentage of them are malignant, becoming cancerous over time. On their own, polyps generally do not cause any symptoms, and grow very slowly over time.
Who Should Get Screened And When: Colon Cancer Screening Guidelines
The timeline for colorectal cancer screening differs and depends on which risk category you are in. Risk factors for colorectal cancer include age, ethnicity, lifestyle, family history and genetics, and personal history of certain health conditions. Discuss with your primary care provider how to assess your risk, and plan screenings accordingly.
For people at average risk, the American Cancer Society recommends starting colorectal cancer screenings at age 45 and continuing them until age 75, when the need for screenings is assessed. Colorectal cancer screening is no longer needed for people 85 and older.
After your first colonoscopy, the endoscopist will determine when your next colonoscopy should be, depending on the findings of the most recent colonoscopy and your family history.
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Other Lab Tests For Colorectal Cancer
Genomic tumor assessment: Genomic testing is used to analyze a tumor on a molecular level to identify DNA alterations that may be driving the cancers growth. By identifying the mutations in a cancer cell’s genome, doctors may better understand what caused the tumor and tailor treatment based on these findings. Learn more about genomic tumor assessment.
CBC test: Complete blood count tests may be used to measure different types of cells in the blood. A CBC test may be particularly helpful in determining whether you have too few red blood cells, which causes anemia. This may be a concern for colorectal cancer patients, because it may indicate that they have a tumor thats been bleeding for some time.
Tumor marker tests: This blood test may be used in addition to other tests for patients who are being treated for colorectal cancer. Tumor marker tests are used to check for two substances in the blood that colorectal cancer may produce: carcinoembryonic antigen and CA 19-9. The tests may help determine an appropriate course of treatment and, sometimes, whether the disease is likely to recur.
Dont Wait Until You Are 45 To Talk To Your Doctor About Screening
Reasons to get screened for colon cancer also include:
- If you are experiencing symptoms.
- If you have been diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease .
- If your parents or immediate family members have had polyps, talk to your doctor about starting screening at an age 10 years before their polyps were discovered.
- If you have a family history of colon cancer or a genetic syndrome like Lynch syndrome or FAP .
Important! If you feel your concerns are being ignored by your current physician, dont be afraid to seek a second opinion and continue to request screening. You are your own best advocate and should feel empowered to take control of your health.
More information about screening options is available from the CDC.
Information on these pages is provided for informational purposes only. Consult your own physician before making any medical decisions.
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How Does The Stool Test Work
A stool test known as a fecal occult blood test or fecal immunochemical test is an easy, once-a-year screening test for colon cancer that you can do in the privacy of your own home. You can pick up the test kit from a doctor or medical provider. The kit comes with a stick or brush that you use to collect a sample of your stool. Follow the instructions that come with the kit and return the kit to your doctor or a lab.
The doctor or lab will look for hidden blood in your stool sample. This hidden blood could be an early sign of colon cancer.
At Home Colon Cancer Stool Tests
There are currently three stool tests that are approved for colorectal cancer screening in the United States. These include:
Fecal immunochemical test . This test uses antibodies that specifically react with a blood protein in the stool. Physicians typically order the test to be repeated annually.
Guaiac-based fecal occult blood test . Conducted yearly, the gFOBT uses a chemical to detect microscopic amounts of blood in the stool.
Stool DNA test . The most current stool test combines the FIT test with a test that can detect abnormally mutated DNA in the stool. Unlike the FIT and gFOBT, a stool DNA test can be repeated every three years if no abnormalities are found.
People frequently prefer these tests over colonoscopies because the test is done in the comfort of your own home and is noninvasive and requires no bowel preparation.
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