FAQs on Colorectal Cancer Prevention
Grace Weatherby
/ Categories: WELLNESS, 2024

FAQs on Colorectal Cancer Prevention

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, bringing attention to the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States, behind only lung cancer.

Colorectal cancer is also one of the most preventable forms of cancer and a colonoscopy is the primary method of detection. It allows for not only early detection but, also treatment, as your doctor can remove polyps during the procedure that can otherwise turn into cancer.

The Endoscopy team at SVMC receives a lot of similar questions about the when, the how and ‘the what’ of colonoscopies.

Below are the most frequently asked questions in regards to when to screen and schedule, with the answers provided by SVMC’s providers and nurses. Stay tuned as we’ll focus on prep/procedure and understanding your results later this month.

Who should be screening? The American Cancer Society recommends that people at average risk of colorectal cancer start regular screening at age 45. Average risk includes having no family history of colorectal cancer and no personal history of inflammatory bowel disease. Those with higher risk factors should talk to a primary care provider on starting screening earlier than age 45.

Why can’t I just use an at-home screening test? If low risk and no family history or previous colon polyps this can be an option. However, colonoscopy is first choice. 

How often do I need to have a colonoscopy? Those at average risk only need to get a colonoscopy every 10 years. For those who have higher risks or other factors, doctors may recommend more regular screenings.

What happens during a colonoscopy procedure? Colonoscopy is a test that lets doctors see inside your colon and rectum using a thin, flexible tube with a camera and light. The doctor examines the lining of your colon and can take tissue samples or remove polyps or other areas of abnormal tissue. The test usually takes 20 to 60 minutes and you may be given sedation or pain relief to make you comfortable.

How do I schedule my colonoscopy? Your primary care provider will refer you to SVMC’s GI Navigator, who will schedule you with one of our gastroenterologists or a specialty trained general surgeon.

I don’t have a doctor, how do I find one? Use our SVMC Physician Directory.


To learn more about colonoscopy services at SVMC, visit this link. 

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