Colonoscopy and Colon Cancer Screening

Routine Colonoscopies Can Save Lives

A colonoscopy is the most reliable way to prevent and detect colon cancer. We find polyps in at least 30 percent of men and 20 percent of women over the age of 50 through colonoscopies. As most colon cancer begins as a polyp, detecting and removing these polyps are key to preventing cancer. The 1-hour exam is available at three convenient locations. Our compassionate staff takes the time to explain procedures, makes sure patients are comfortable and delivers results immediately. Patients are sedated during the procedure and may also receive pain medication to keep them relaxed. Most people are able to resume their normal activities the following day.  Watch a video featuring U-M gastroenterologists explaining a colonoscopy procedure.

When and Why to Get a Colonoscopy or Other Colon Cancer Screening

Colorectal cancer starts in either the colon or the rectum. The risk of a person having colorectal cancer in his or her lifetime is about 1 in 19. Not counting skin cancers, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer found in men and women in the U.S. When colorectal cancers are detected and treated at an early stage (and have not spread beyond the colon or rectum) they are highly curable. Even better, colorectal cancer screening can detect and remove polyps at a precancerous stage – preventing cancer from developing at all. That’s why experts recommend colon cancer screening for all adults beginning at age 50. The purpose of a cancer-screening test is to find the cancer in its earliest stages. The sooner cancer is detected, the better the chances of fully recovering from it. By the time symptoms appear, cancer may have begun to spread.

Compassionate and Gentle Colon Cancer Screenings

Experts from the Division of Gastroenterology at the University of Michigan offer four different screening tests:

  • Colonoscopy: The preferred method for screening, this is an exam using a tube-like instrument to look inside the rectum and colon for polyps, abnormal areas or cancer. Tissue samples can be collected (biopsy) and abnormal growths can be removed. Watch our colonoscopy video to see how a colonoscopy is performed.
  • Fecal occult blood test or fecal immunochemical test: To check stool (solid waste) for blood that may not be visible, which may be a sign of polyps or cancer.
  • Sigmoidoscopy: Using a tube-like instrument to look inside the rectum and lower colon for polyps, abnormal areas or cancer. Evaluates only the lower third of the colon.
  • Barium enema: A series of x-rays of the lower gastrointestinal tract, also called a lower GI series.

Choose the University of Michigan for Your Colonoscopy Exam

When it comes to colon cancer screening, it’s important to choose an experienced health care team. Our board-certified gastroenterologists have performed more than 100,000 colonoscopies in the last 10 years. .

More Questions About Colonoscopy?

For more information about colon cancer screening, visit our Colonscopy Frequently Asked Questions pageTour a giant colon and learn how to keep it healthy.

Make an Appointment

To schedule an appointment for a colonoscopy, contact us at 877-220-2920. No referral is needed, unless you belong to an HMO.