We provide a comprehensive approach to colorectal cancer prevention by assessing your individual risk and performing screening procedures such as colonoscopy. We can also provide counseling and testing for people who might have a higher risk of colorectal cancer because of their family history.

New Rules for Colon Cancer Screening

Dr. Rachel Issaka discusses the updated age recommendations for scheduling a colonoscopy to prevent cancer. 

Early Detection 

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States.

Early detection is crucial. Our physicians are leaders in the field of prevention, and when it comes to colon cancer screening it’s important to choose an experienced health care team. Our board-certified gastroenterologists are here to help.

If your tests show you are at a high risk for colorectal cancer, we will assess, screen, and monitor your health in order to reduce your overall risk, and we will design a personalized care plan just for you. 


We can help assess your cancer risk and increase your chances of early detection.

  • UW Medicine Digestive Health - Learn more

  • SCCA Gastrointestinal Cancer Prevention Program - Learn more

  • Fred Hutch Cancer Prevention Center - Learn more

Cancer Screening Tests

Patient and provider

Colorectal cancer is frequently preventable if we can find and remove precancerous polyps.

Detecting and removing polyps is key to preventing colorectal cancer. Screening tests aim to find and remove these polyps or to detect cancer at an early, more curable stage. Success rates for curing early colorectal cancer are much better than for advanced colorectal cancer.  There are multiple ways to screen for colorectal cancer. Colonoscopy is the most effective way to detect and remove colorectal polyps.  Colonoscopy exams take 30-45 minutes to perform. Our compassionate staff takes the time to explain the procedure and to make sure patients are comfortable and safe.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that adults age 45 to 75 be screened for colorectal cancer.


Colorectal Cancer Screening Test Options:

  • Colonoscopy - The most common 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 or polyps can be removed at the time of the procedure. 
  • Hereditary Risk Assessment - The GI Cancer Prevention Clinic can provide risk comprehensive assessment including genetic testing and counseling for patients with a family history of colorectal cancer.If you have a family health history of colorectal cancer, your doctor may consider your family health history when deciding which colorectal cancer screening might be right for you. 

For those who may not want a colonoscopy, alternatives include:

  • Fecal Immunochemical Test, FIT - A test to check stool (solid waste) for blood that may not be visible, which may be a sign of polyps or cancer. If blood is detected through a fecal occult blood test, additional tests may be needed to determine the source of the bleeding. The fecal occult blood test can only detect the presence or absence of blood — it can't determine what's causing the bleeding.
  • Flexible Sigmoidoscopy - A short test using a tube-like instrument to look inside the rectum and lower colon for polyps, abnormal areas or cancer. The test evaluates only the lower third of the colon, unlike a colonoscopy which takes a thorough look at the whole of the large bowel, up to the end of the small bowel.
  • CT Colonography (Virtual Colonoscopy) - Virtual colonoscopy is a minimally invasive exam to screen for cancer of the large intestine (colon cancer). virtual colonoscopy uses a CT scan to produce hundreds of cross-sectional images of your abdominal organs. The images are combined and digitally manipulated to provide a detailed view of the inside of the colon and rectum.

Your doctor will help you determine which test is appropriate for you, and how often to be tested.

Meet our Providers

We are dedicated to making your life healthier through cancer prevention and treatment options.

Meet the Specialists in Gastroenterology at UW Medicine.

We are here for you.

Colorectal Cancer Awareness


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