Get a test to save your life

A new stool-sampling method, the fecal immunochemical test, does not require dietary restrictions like the FOBT, but it is not commonly obtainable yet in Canada. Other emerging methods include a virtual colonoscopy using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), stool tests that can check for DNA changes indicating the presence of polyps, tests using a mucous sample collected through a digital rectal exam, and simple blood-based tests that could become part of routine yearly checkups.

Screening should not be your only defence against colorectal cancer – a healthy lifestyle is the primary line of prevention. “They go hand in hand,” Stein says. “There are studies that show we can prevent colorectal cancer through exercise and healthy diet by 50 per cent and reduce the recurrence rate by 50 per cent.”

© Copyright October 2007 CARP magazine