Colon Cancer Screening in Denver, CO
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What is a colon cancer screening?
Colon and rectal cancer is often one of the most avoidable cancers. Your rectum and colon are the large intestine, which absorbs water and nutrients from digested food, and holds solid waste before it's discharged from the body
A screening for colon cancer is the process of checking for polyps and growths that could be cancerous on the inner wall of the rectum and colon with no gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms present. A polyp is a growth that is not cancerous in the colon. Some of these might grow into cancer later. Early detection and removal of polyps and malignant growths can help avoid issues and death at the hands of colorectal cancer.
Our board-certified gastroenterologists at Colorado Gastroenterology frequently perform colon cancer screenings for Denver, CO patients. To book a screening, contact our facility.
Wha are the benefits of colon cancer screenings?
Regular screenings for colon and rectal cancer are essential to your general and gastrointestinal health. Some of the advantages of colon cancer screenings involve:
- Potentially prevent colon cancer from developing
- Can be a life-saving exam
- Detect and excise abnormal growths in the colon and rectum
- Identify other types of GI issues, like inflammatory bowel disease
- Possibly detect colorectal cancer in the earlier stages
Colon and rectal cancer may not present signs or symptoms until it becomes more advanced. Having screenings on a periodic basis can help detect any issues as soon as possible.
What are the available colon cancer screening options?
Denver, CO individuals should speak with their GI doctor at Colorado Gastroenterology about when to go to a screening and what tests are suggested. The following tests may be used for a colorectal cancer screening:
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy: A sigmoidoscopy is used to look at the inside of the lower colon and rectum. A finger-sized tube with a camera attached is inserted through the rectum so we can get images of the inside wall and some of your colon. It might also be used for taking a biopsy of the tumor or polyp as well as extracting some polyps. However, a colonoscopy needs to be completed to see the whole colon and get rid of all tumors or polyps. This procedure is generally pretty safe but there is a minimal risk of a bowel tear, bleeding, and infection.
- Colonoscopy: A colonoscope is similar to a sigmoidoscope, except it's longer and is used to examine the inside of the entire colon. The colonoscope is snaked through the rectum and your doctor can see the entire colon on our computer system. GI tools may be passed through the colonoscope to take a biopsy and extract polyps. Sedation will be needed. There is a small chance of the bowel tearing, bleeding, and infection due to the procedure.
Virtual colonoscopy: This is a CT scan of the colon. The person is asked to lie on our treatment table where our CT scanner will take images of your colon. This is a noninvasive treatment and doesn't call for sedation. If we find any abnormalities, a colonoscopy will have to be performed to remove the tumors or polyps.
Double-contrast barium enema: A thin tube is inserted the rectum and barium sulfate, a chalky white liquid, and air are pumped into your colon. The barium suspension will line the outer walls of the colon. X-ray images of the colon will then be taken to show any abnormalities on the inner wall of the colon. If any abnormalities are identified, a colonoscopy will be required to extract the polyps or tumors.
Fecal test: These are completed with a fecal sample and are very safe. Fecal tests may not give confirmatory results but might suggest abnormalities in the GI tract, necessitating further tests. A colonoscopy needs to be repeated if results are positive, indicating cancerous growths in your colon. We offer three types of fecal tests:
Stool DNA tests identify specific abnormal DNA genes in the cells shed from cancerous growths or polyps in a stool sample.
Fecal immunochemical tests detect blood through a certain immunochemical reaction of protein in your blood and are often able to detect hidden blood.
Fecal occult blood tests can detect blood in the feces not visible to normal eyes through a chemical reaction.
Who could be at risk for colon cancer?
There are a few common denominators when it comes to those who are at risk for colon cancer. Although anyone can be diagnosed, colon cancer is commonly seen in those:
- Over 45 years of age
- People with ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease
- Men and women with familial adenomatous polyposis, a condition where they develop many polyps in the colon and rectum
- Men and women with a sedentary lifestyle, bad eating habits, and/or who smoke
- People who have close family members like parents, siblings, or children who have or had colon cancer
- Women with a previous history of ovarian, uterine, or breast cancer
- Men and women who have had colon cancer before
To learn more about the risks of colon cancer in depth, contact a member of our GI team at Colorado Gastroenterology. We will go over all the risks with you and craft a plan to help you take preventive measures when you schedule an appointment in our Denver, CO office.
Reserve your colorectal cancer screening today
With regular screenings, colorectal cancer can be easily detected and prevented in the early stages. If you are over 45 years old or if you've had other conditions that increase your chances of colon cancer, you might want to book your colon cancer screening at Colorado Gastroenterology. A physician-led group of GI specialists who work with a patient-first outlook, Colorado Gastroenterology employs leading technology to strengthen digestive health. To learn more about a colon cancer screening in Denver, CO, contact our facility soon.
Colon Cancer Screening FAQs
Why are screenings for colon cancer important?
Colorectal cancer commonly arises from abnormal growths in the colon or rectum called polyps. During a colonoscopy, these premalignant polyps can be removed to help lower the risk of and potentially even prevent colon cancer development. Periodic screenings for colon cancer can also allow doctors to identify cancer that has already progressed. When colorectal cancer is caught early, it may be easier to treat.
At what age should you begin colon cancer screenings?
Adults who carry an average risk for the disease should begin having routine colon cancer screenings at 45. Those with an increased risk may require screenings before this age. Your GI specialist can advise you on when you should start your screenings for colorectal cancer.
How frequently should I get a screening for colon cancer?
The intervals at which individuals should undergo colon cancer exams can vary according to the exam being conducted. Generally, those who are age 45 years old and older should undergo a colonoscopy exam every ten years when they have an average risk for colorectal cancer and have colonoscopies with normal results. Patients who carry a significantly high risk are advised to undergo colonoscopy exams at least once every five years. For details on how frequently you should schedule screenings for colon cancer, please consult your gastrointestinal physician.
How can I prepare for my colon cancer screening?
The preparatory instructions for a colorectal cancer screening will depend on the form of screening received. For a colonoscopy, specific information on how to prepare will be provided to you by the GI team ahead of your scheduled procedure to clear out your large intestine. Your doctor may also provide additional instructions to follow in the days leading up to your screening. It is essential to comply with your doctor’s directions to help ensure they can observe any concerns when conducting your screening for colorectal cancer.
I have spent plenty of time in doctor's offices and hospitals and unfortunately am only 30. I have genetics that make me very prone to colon cancer, so I met with Dr. Frank and had a colonoscopy done as a result. They found a polyp, removed it and I have a plan moving forward. Overall, with Dr. Frank and everyone in the office, they were extremely pleasant all the way over to the Denver Endoscopy Center. I have had terrible experiences and this was the complete opposite. I had also called another local gastro group and received a different experience. Regarding the poor review below about insurance and costs. I can't remember her name, but a representative of the office reached out to me about my insurance, clearly explained costs, potential for payment options, etc. Since I am young, my insurance didn't off the bat consider this preventative. I had genetic testing done and she was able to detail what I needed to do with the insurance company to get it to be preventative. She even allowed me to merge a call with her and my insurance provider. Couldn't have been happier. Thank you.
Dr. Rufner listens and hears what the patient has to say. Then doctor and patient can come up with a solution. I've been seeing Dr. Rufner for several years and wouldn't consider seeing anyone else. He helped me through my recovery after colon cancer. I highly recommended Dr. Rufner.