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Colonoscopy

General Information

Colonoscopy Screening

Did you know that a colonoscopy screening is the gold standard for prevention of colon cancer? A colonoscopy is the only test that allows your doctor to find and remove polyps during the same exam. That means removal of abnormal tissue before it grows into cancer. Finding signs of cancer early increases treatment options, vastly improves survival rates and can reduce the incidence of cancer.

At-home stool tests

You may choose a Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) that you can do at home. The test looks for blood in the stool, which can occur for many reasons.

FIT is considered a less effective cancer prevention tool. It detects colon cancer once it’s already present, which may mean the disease is in a later stage. 

If a FIT is positive, a diagnostic colonoscopy determines if polyps or cancer are present in the colon. If a FIT is negative, doctors recommend repeating at-home stool tests every one to two years.

Choose the right test for you

Colonoscopy is the best screening option if you are at average risk for developing colon cancer. If you have a family history of colon cancer or a personal history of colon polyps or colon cancer, it's the only recommended test. Talk to your primary care provider to find out what is recommended for you.

What to expect with a colonoscopy

Colonoscopy is considered an outpatient screening. That means you are in and out of the medical site in the same day.

Your doctor will give you a mild sedative to help you sleep comfortably during the procedure. You will need a friend or family member to drive you home after your procedure. Most patients resume normal activities within 24 hours of their screening.

What to know about polyps

Polyps grow on the inner wall of the colon and rectum. Not all polyps are cancerous, but some polyps may turn into cancer. Precancerous polyps can grow for a long time without causing symptoms before they become cancer.

The earlier polyps are removed, the less risk of developing colon cancer.

Quality matters when it comes to colonoscopy

Quality matters when it comes to colonoscopies. Our gastroenterology specialists are highly skilled in finding and safely removing polyps before they become cancerous. In fact, their adenoma detection rates (ADR) are above the national benchmark.

ADR is important because it reflects how carefully a doctor performs a colonoscopy. Recent studies1 have shown that for every one percent increase in ADR over the national average, your risk of colon cancer decreases by three percent. Risk of a fatal colon cancer occurring before your next colonoscopy also decreases by five percent.

1 New England Journal of Medicine: "Quality indicators for colonoscopy and the risk of interval cancer."

Resources

Learn Your Risk for Colorectal Cancer

In just a few short minutes, this simple assessment will tell you if you may be at risk for colorectal cancer.

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