Indy Gastro | Colonoscopy, rectal bleeding, diarrhea, constipation, endoscopy

Understanding Colon Cancer and Colonoscopy

dr-chengBy Dr. Shan Cheng

The average person has a five percent chance of developing colon cancer in their lifetime. However, a patient’s risk for colon caner is greatly increased if there is a family history of colon cancer or polyps  - a benign, non-cancerous growth in the intestines. However, if detected early, the success rates are much higher.

Since its founding in 1991, the Indianapolis Gastroenterology Research Foundation has made research in colon cancer screening a cornerstone of its mission. Our work in this field has resulted in higher than average detection rates amongst at-risk patients.

Colonoscopy  is the most accurate test for colon cancer screenings and early detection. Colonoscopy is recommended for all patients at the age of 50 and earlier for those with a significant family history of colon cancer or polyps. Colonoscopy allow for both the detection and removal of polyps which otherwise might have transitioned into colon cancer.


Routine use of colonoscopy has resulted in less colon cancer and improved cancer survival rates throughout the world. Our doctors work with each patient to construct an individualized schedule of follow-up screenings and observation to further enhance detection and prevention of cancer in their patients.

At the annual American College of Gastroenterology meeting in 2011, our IGH physician Dr. Michael Morelli  continued the tradition of presenting the latest in colonoscopy research. In conjunction with Indiana University Medical Center, the results of 965 patients were reviewed to determine appropriate colonoscopy follow-up intervals. This research study examined patients who have undergone repeat colonoscopy exams in an effort to identify high-risk patients of recurrent polyps and colon cancer. Through this research, we are learning that for those patients with minor polyps on the initial colonoscopy, it is safe to wait for a longer time period before having a follow-up colonoscopy performed.

At IGH, we performed over 6,000 colonoscopy screenings last year . Thanks to our detailed screenings, IGH exceeded the national average in polyp detection. We continue to utilize the latest findings for patient care and to further our understanding of colon cancer, which will help more patients in the future and further our patient-centered relationships.

To learn more about our colonoscopy screenings and to schedule a visit with an IGH physician click the Contact Us button below.

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    Suites 150 & 200
    Indianapolis, IN 46237

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