Dr. Thomas Wagner, a Gastroenterologist with Froedtert South spoke to us about Colon Cancer Screening.  Gastroenterology is the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the digestive tract (Esophagus, stomach, intestine, colon, rectum), Liver, bile ducts, & pancreas. He was born and raised in New Berlin, WI and grew up knowing he wanted to give back to the community in some way, so he became a physician.  He lost his grandpa at a young age to colon cancer and that is what sparked his interest in GI.
More and more colon cancers & polyps have been found in much younger people, so screening has been updated to be 45 – 75 years of age.  Several ways to screen: 1/ Fecal Occult Blood Testing – needs to be done annually, has a decreased rate of detection for polyps (only 12% under 1 cm) & cancers, high rate of false negatives & false positives. Cologuard – screening times not yet well defined every 1-3 years, expensive, not always covered by insurance and it too is diagnostic only, if you have a positive result, you will need a colonoscopy and some insurances will then not cover completely, since is no longer “screening” but diagnostic.  Colonoscopy is the Gold Standard but does require you to “prep” with a low residue diet for approx. 1 week before, clear liquids the day before and a bowel prep.  You will receive sedation and require a ride home. There are some risks re: the anesthesia, perforation, or bleeding, but they are rare.