Stomach colon rectum diagram.

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Throughout my blog, I’ve hammered home the importance of colorectal cancer screening. Doctors still look at the colonoscopy as the “gold standard” treatment option. But some men and women opt for the flexible “sig,” or sigmoidoscopy.  The “sig” examines a smaller portion of the colon.  Still others choose the virtual colonoscopy; there’s emerging research on this more recent screening choice.

A recent article at Reuters Health examines another option: The fecal occult blood test, or FOBT.  Amy Norton writes that a study reveals that a FOBT is an effective choice for the early detection of colon cancer.

The study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal shows a newer (FOBT) test, the immunochemical FOBT (iFOBT), has a better chance of finding colon growths. The older FOBT version, at times, would discover bleeding in the upper digestive tract.

The FOBT is designed to look for hidden blood (that can come from polyps or cancer). The price of these tests is low (under $50) compared with more expensive colonoscopies and flexible sigs.

If blood is found on a FOBT test, a colonoscopy is needed.

As I have stressed repeatedly on this blog, you need to decide on a screening regimen after close consultation with your family doctor.