Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States. We provide a comprehensive approach to colorectal cancer prevention by assessing individual risk and performing screening procedures such as colonoscopy, and establishing novel interventions to address disparities in colorectal cancer screening, diagnosis, and management. We also provide counseling and genetic testing for people who might have a higher risk of colorectal cancer because of their family history.
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 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.
New Rules for Colon Cancer Screening
Dr. Rachel Issaka discusses the updated age recommendations for scheduling a colonoscopy to prevent cancer.
Cancer Screening Tests
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, 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.
We are dedicated to making your life healthier through cancer prevention and treatment options.
We are here for you.
Our researchers at UW Medicine, the VA Puget Sound Health Care System, and the Fred Hutch Cancer Center are working to make early detection of colorectal cancer easier, safer, and more accurate.
POPULATION HEALTH INITIATIVE
Population Health is a broad concept encompassing not only the elimination of diseases and injuries but also the intersecting and overlapping factors that influence health.