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Colon Cancer Screenings

Southwest Generals’ Screening Colonoscopy Program

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death. Part of what makes this disease so dangerous is that there are usually no noticeable symptoms in the early stages. Although most commonly associated with men, both men and women can develop colon cancer.

The good news is that colon cancer is one cancer that can be prevented. With colonoscopy cancer screening, your doctor can examine your colon for potentially cancerous growths known as polyps. Removing these growths early enough can prevent colon cancer from forming.

What You Should Know About Colon Cancer Screening

Colonoscopy is the primary exam used to diagnose colon cancer. In a colonoscopy, a small, flexible, tube-shaped camera is inserted through the rectum and travels through the digestive tract. This procedure allows doctors to see the entire colon, making it the most effective tool we have for colon cancer screening.

It is recommended that patients with average colon cancer risk factors receive their first cancer screening at age 50. Your doctor may recommend you have one earlier if you have above-average risk factors, such as a family history of the disease.

Southwest General’s initiatives for increasing colon cancer screenings:

  • Open Access Colonoscopy Screening Program – Makes scheduling screening colonoscopies easier by providing eligible patients the opportunity to directly schedule the procedure without a doctor’s visit beforehand.
  • Collaborative efforts with primary care physicians
  • Alerts and reminders to patients turning 50
  • Information tables, health fairs and community events

Southwest General’s Screening Outcomes:

Southwest General has seen a significant increase in screening colonoscopies over the years, largely due to increased awareness of the need for screening and specific Health Center initiatives.

colonoscopy graph

Jan-Jun Year Screening Procedure % Increase to Year Prior
2014 532 1034
2015 578 1233 19.2%
2016 820 1675 35.8%
2017 841 1800 7.5%
2018 936 2195 21.9%

*The yearly number for 2018 has been based on an annualized number, and may slightly vary.

To learn more about getting a screening colonoscopy or the opportunities available at Southwest General, please call 440-816-8086.