Screening for Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer screening is one of the most important things you can do for your health – an early diagnosis drastically changes how treatable your cancer is. Screening could even save your life.

While a colonoscopy is the preferred colorectal cancer screening exam because it can find cancer and remove polyps, some patients choose other tests for various reasons.

These include:

  • Virtual colonoscopy
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy
  • Contrast barium enema
  • Fecal immunochemical tests
  • Fecal occult blood tests

Talk to your doctor about which test is right for you.

Focus on Colonoscopy

A colonoscopy is an exam that detects colorectal cancer or finds colon polyps before they become cancer.

A colonoscopy involves insertion of a scope with a tiny camera throughout the entire colon. It’s the most popular colon cancer screening test, taken by millions each year.

An advantage of a colonoscopy is that your physician can remove pre-cancerous polyps found during the procedure.

UT Southwestern Medical Center’s highly skilled gastroenterology team has many years of colonoscopy experience. With a modern outpatient clinic and endoscopy area, we’re capable of providing immediate and expert care for any patient who needs screening or is concerned about colorectal cancer. In addition, all of our physicians have advanced training in their field.

What to Expect

We will discuss in detail with you how to prepare for a colonoscopy (called bowel prep). The day before, you must cleanse the bowel so that the test can be as accurate as possible.

You will be sedated during the exam and should not feel any pain, but some patients experience slight discomfort or bloating after the exam.

When to Have a Colonoscopy

We recommend a colonoscopy every 10 years beginning at age 50 for both men and women at average risk for developing colorectal cancer.

If you are at an increased or high risk of colorectal cancer, you should begin colorectal cancer screening before age 50 or be screened more often.

Common increased risk factors include:

  • Family history of inherited colorectal cancer syndromes
  • Strong family history of colorectal cancer or polyps
  • Personal history of colorectal cancer or polyps
  • Personal history of chronic inflammatory bowl disease

You should discuss your family and medical history with your doctor. Screening is extremely important because colorectal cancer is highly curable when detected early.

Meet Our Colorectal Cancer Screening Specialists

Request an Appointment

To schedule an appointment with a colorectal cancer screening specialist at UT Southwestern’s facilities in Dallas or for more information about our services, request an appointment or call 214-645-8300.