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Functional Medicine Friday! Colorectal Cancer Screening - What are the options?

Updated: Mar 7

Hey everybody happy Friday. It's functional medicine Friday, and I am Dr. Julie McLaughlin. And we have a really specific topic this week. What we're going to be talking about is colorectal cancer screening. Now we all know somebody or unfortunately may have experienced this type of cancer because it is really, really common. And it's really important that we screen for it because if you find it early enough, it can be treated. So what I want you to know is there's a new study that came out and it helps us know our risk, right? And so the colorectal cancer screening with fecal immunochemical testing, sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy, they came out with the new clinical practice guidelines. And this is the study. If you want to read it, but I'm going to tell you what the study says and how to take the risk assessment.

That's called two cancer risk tools. And I'm going to show you what it looks like in a minute. And I'm going to put a link below the video. I want you to go, and I want you to do this risk assessment, so what did this find in this study? It found that the screening should be recommended only for people with a 15-year risk of colon cancer above 3%.

So you want to do that risks or so, you know where you are, this is what it looks like. And again, I'll put the link in the chat below, so you'll be able to see it, but this is what it's going to, you're going to go through and you're going to answer all these questions, and then it's going to give you a score. And if you are at three or above, then, you know, you have an increased risk. So what does that mean?

So if you have an estimated risk of less than 3%, the screening isn't recommended and screening carry a risk of harm from the procedure like bowel preparation, unnecessary treatments that can also have adverse side effects.

But if your risk is above 3%, you have three options of screening. And I know many people don't do this kind of testing because they don't want to do the prep, or they don't want to go through it, but there are different options. There's a fecal immunochemical test (FIT), and you can have it done every year or every two years.

And that's, if your risk is above 3%, the sigmoidoscopy, especially if your fit is positive, you want to go ahead and do that. If you have a higher percentage and a colonoscopy, especially if you have a higher risk percentage, the option you choose depends on your individual situation.

For example, if you're at low risk and concerned about the invasiveness of the potential risk of a colonoscopy, then you might want to start with the FIT test. But if you have a strong family history of colon cancer, maybe you have a personal history of constipation or hemorrhoids for kind of GI issues. Then they get the greatest peace of mind. You want to go ahead and choose either colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy.

So if you have any questions about this, feel free to talk to us here at McLaughlin care,

but I want you all to make sure you're screening for colorectal cancer. We'll see you next week.

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