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For the public COLORECTAL SCREENING What should I expect?

Physical examination: What should I expect?

The prevention of colorectal cancer in the Czech Republic currently consists in two types of physical examination: faecal occult blood test (abbreviated as FOBT) and screening colonoscopy. However, there are significant differences between these two procedures (compare faecal occult blood test and screening colonoscopy). In those aged 50-54 years, faecal occult blood test should be performed each year. In those aged over 55 years, faecal occult blood test should be performed every two years year. People aged 50 years and above can choose between screening colonoscopy performed in ten-year intervals, or FOBT. Unfortunately, FOBT itself is not enough to establish a definite diagnosis. If the test result is positive (i.e., blood is found in your stool), you will be recommended to undergo the colonoscopy – the only procedure which can reveal the exact cause of bleeding.

If you choose to skip FOBT completely and go to see a gastrotenterologist directly, this is called the primary screening colonoscopy. In this case, the recommended interval between two consecutive examinations extends to ten years, as the colonoscopy provides much more reliable results than FOBT. If you are lucky enough and not even a single polyp is revealed during this examination, then you can be almost 100% sure that you will not develop colorectal cancer in the next ten years.

Some patients actually feel embarassed and ashamed and don’t want to undergo colonoscopy even though their FOBT result turns out positive. You should bear in mind, however, that the doctor performing colonoscopy is not your enemy: he/she doesn’t want to hurt you in any way, and will make every effort to perform the examination as carefully as possible. Your possible fear of bad news should be fully compensated by the awareness that this bad news – if it does not come too late – might save your life. Indeed, a malignant tumour diagnosed at an early stage can be treated much more easily and effectively, and the impact of colorectal cancer screening on the reduction of mortality is indisputable. Finally, any feeling of shame is misplaced, as this disease can affect really anyone.

Last updated on 20 August 2020