A colonoscopy is a screening test for colorectal cancer – and it can save your life. Colonoscopies help us detect and often remove pre-cancerous growths (polyps) meaning we can get rid of it before it turns into a cancer. And if your colonoscopy shows signs of cancer, you can receive additional testing, treatments and support all in one program.
Everyone should be screened for colorectal cancer beginning at age 45, unless you have a family history of the disease or certain other risk factors, and then earlier screening may be needed. You and your primary care provider will decide when you should have colorectal cancer screening.
Colon cancer screening at Lehigh Valley Cancer Institute
When you come to the Cancer Institute, you receive care from one of the region’s leading programs. Highlights of our offerings include:
Highly skilled team
Our team includes doctors with years of experience performing colonoscopies. We perform a high volume of colonoscopies each year, leading to thorough testing with a lower risk of complications.
If we find a suspicious growth, we examine it under a microscope to see if it is cancerous. As the only cancer center in the region with a gastrointestinal pathologist, we quickly deliver accurate results so you can start treatment right away.
Genetic testing helps us determine whether you face a higher than normal risk of colorectal cancer. Our cancer genetics specialists may recommend getting a colonoscopy at a younger age or more frequently to help you avoid a cancer diagnosis. Find out more about genetic testing for cancer.
More information about colonoscopies
The colon is a long hollow tube responsible for the final stages of digestion. Your colon absorbs water from digested food and helps produce solid waste (stool), which you eliminate during a bowel movement.
The day before your procedure, you’ll drink a liquid solution that works as a laxative to clean and empty your bowel before having a colonoscopy.
During a colonoscopy, we examine the lining of your colon and rectum using an endoscope, which is a thin flexible tube with a tiny light and camera attached. We access the colon by passing these instruments through the anus.
During preparation, we give you medication to help you sleep through the procedure. A colonoscopy is an outpatient test, meaning you can go home shortly after it’s over. However, because sedatives generally cause drowsiness and impaired motor function for a few hours after the procedure, you’ll need to have a friend or family member drive you home.
Our multidisciplinary cancer clinics
If there are abnormal findings, we help you get answers and care recommendations as quickly as possible. At our multidisciplinary cancer clinic, you see multiple cancer experts, including doctors specializing in gastrointestinal cancers like colorectal cancer, in one visit. Find out more about our multidisciplinary cancer clinics.