Colon Cancer Screening in Indianapolis, IN

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Colorectal cancer is the third most diagnosed cancer but also one of the most preventable. The colon and rectum, which make up the large intestine, play a crucial role in absorbing water and nutrients and storing waste.

A colon cancer screening involves checking for polyps and cancerous growths in the colon and rectum when no symptoms are present. Polyps are benign growths that can potentially turn cancerous. Early detection and removal of these polyps and tumors can significantly reduce the risk of complications and death from colon cancer.

The board-certified gastroenterologists at Indianapolis Gastroenterology and Hepatology regularly perform these screenings and recommend that everyone begin them at age 45. To schedule your screening, contact our location in Indianapolis, IN.

Routine screenings for colorectal cancer are vital for overall and gastrointestinal health. Although various screening methods exist, colonoscopies are the primary preventive measure for colorectal cancer. The benefits of these screenings include:

  • Life-saving potential
  • Early detection of colon or rectal cancer
  • Identification and removal of polyps in the colon and rectum
  • Prevention of colon cancer development
  • Detection of other gastrointestinal issues, such as inflammatory bowel disease

Colon cancer often shows no signs until it is advanced, so regular screenings can help doctors detect any issues early.

It's important to discuss with your GI doctor when to begin screenings and which tests are suitable for you. Options include:

  • Flexible Sigmoidoscopy: This test uses a sigmoidoscope to view the rectum and lower colon. The device, a thin tube with a camera, is inserted into the rectum, displaying images on a monitor. It can biopsy or remove some polyps but requires a colonoscopy for full colon examination. Though generally safe, it carries a small risk of bowel tear, bleeding, and infection.
  • Colonoscopy: Similar to a sigmoidoscope but longer, a colonoscope examines the entire colon. It is inserted through the rectum, allowing the doctor to see the whole colon. Special tools can biopsy and remove polyps. Sedation is required, with minor risks of bowel tears, bleeding, or infection. This is the only preventive measure available for colorectal cancer.
  • Virtual Colonoscopy: This noninvasive CT scan of the colon involves lying on a table while cross-sectional images are taken. No sedation is needed, but abnormalities found require a traditional colonoscopy for polyp or tumor removal.
  • Double-Contrast Barium Enema: A tube inserted in the rectum introduces barium sulfate and air into the colon. X-rays then reveal any abnormalities. Like other tests, a colonoscopy is needed to remove any detected polyps or tumors.
  • Fecal Tests: These tests use stool samples and are safe but not definitive. Positive results suggest abnormalities needing further testing, usually a colonoscopy. Types include:
    • Fecal occult blood tests, which detect invisible blood in the stool.
    • Fecal immunochemical tests, which use immunochemical reactions to detect hidden blood.
    • Stool DNA tests, which look for abnormal DNA genes in cells shed from cancerous growths in the stool.

Several factors can put you at an elevated risk of colon cancer, including:

  • Being over the age of 45
  • Inherited conditions like familial adenomatous polyposis
  • A personal history of colon cancer
  • Previous history of breast, ovarian, or uterine cancer in women
  • Having close family members, such as parents, siblings, or children, with colon cancer
  • Chronic conditions like ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease
  • A sedentary lifestyle, poor eating habits, and smoking

Regular screenings make colon cancer detection and prevention possible at early stages. If you are over 45 or have risk factors, schedule a screening at Indianapolis Gastroenterology and Hepatology. Our practice is part of the nation's leading physician-led network of gastroenterologists and is committed to using advanced technology to support digestive health. Contact our office in Indianapolis, IN to learn more and schedule your colon cancer screening.

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Why is screening for colon cancer important?

Cancer of the colon often starts from growths in the large intestine (colon) or rectum called polyps. With a colonoscopy exam, these premalignant growths can be extracted to help lessen the risk of and potentially prevent colon cancer from occurring. Routine screenings for colorectal cancer may also allow doctors to detect cancer that has already progressed. Colon cancer can be easier to treat if caught in the early stages.

At what age should I start having colon cancer screenings?

Individuals who are at average risk for developing this disease should begin periodic colon cancer screenings at age 45. Patients carrying an increased risk may require screenings before this age. Your gastrointestinal doctor can help you identify when you should start having colorectal cancer exams.

How often should you get a colon cancer screening?

The intervals at which you should undergo colon cancer screenings may vary according to the type of exam being conducted. Typically, people who are 45 and older should have a colonoscopy every decade when they are at average risk for colon cancer and have colonoscopy results that are within normal limits. Patients with a significantly high risk should have colonoscopy screenings a minimum of once every five years. For more information on how often you should have screening exams for colorectal cancer, please consult your gastroenterologist.

How can I prepare for a colorectal cancer screening?

The preparation process for a colorectal cancer screening will be based on the type of screening scheduled. For a colonoscopy, specific information on how to prepare will be provided to you by your GI team before the exam to clean out your large intestine (colon). Your GI specialist may also give you certain instructions to follow in the days prior to your colon cancer screening. Following your provider's directions is crucial to help ensure they can identify any concerns during your screening.

This was my first colonoscopy at age 47. I was going to wait until 50 until I had a hospice patient of mine pass from colon cancer at 50 a few months ago. I promised her I would not wait. The entire staff was amazing from the waiting room to recovery and made it clear as to what would be taking place. The anesthesiologist, Dr. Hall prayed with me and Dr. Haynes explained the procedure thoroughly. I highly recommend this group.

A.H. Google

I found Dr. Haynes to be a caring and personable physician. He spent actual time with me discussing my issues, and wasted no time with testing. His care probably saved me from colon cancer . Highly recommend.

J.R. Google

From the moment I walked through the doors at St. Frances and entered the GI office I was warmly greeted by the front desk receptionist. From my admitting nurse, my anestheologist and my post op nurse they were are extremely knowledgeable and friendly. My highest praise goes to Dr. Cheng though. I lost my father to colon cancer in 2017'. He was only 73 and passed 3 months after his colonoscopy which revealed a malignant mass in his lower colon. I was with my father when he had his colonoscopy and the doctor found the mass. I have struggled emotionally ever since. I am 45, having my very first colonoscopy during Covid and my family was not permitted to be in the office. I completely and totally understand but nevertheless it was a hard decision to follow through. Ultimately I proceeded with my procedure and upon my very first encounter with Dr. Cheng he treated me with compassion, sympathy over the untimely passing of my father but most importantly he made sure to reiterate that he was glad I decided to have my colonoscopy as it was a great way to honor my father. He consoled me as I wept and assured me I was in good hands and that they would take great care of me. I can honestly say over my life span I have had several surgeries and procedures but this was by far my best experience and procedure I have ever done. I am so very grateful I decided to keep my appointment and follow through. Hands down I highly recommend Dr. Cheng for not only his knowledge and compassion but for his bedside manner. Since my colonoscopy I have done nothing else but sing his praises as well as the staff at his office! Fantastic experience even though it was 2020' and Covid restrictions were in place. Best of luck to you and your loved ones and I hope your experience was as great as mine!

D.H. Google


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