While the thought of getting a colonoscopy makes some people queasy, that shouldn’t prevent you from getting being screened for colon cancer, rectal cancer, or other colorectal diseases. Regular screening is recommended for:

  • Everyone age 45 and older
  • People with a family history of colorectal cancer or colon polyps (called adenomas)
  • People with inflammatory bowel disease

Colon cancer a preventable, treatable, and potentially curable disease, yet it is the third leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S., in part because people don't undergo colonoscopy as recommended. Colonoscopy screenings can find colon cancer before it progresses to a life-threatening stage. The cure rate for early-stage colon cancer is as high as 90%. 

Our Locations

Duke Health offers locations throughout the Triangle. Find one near you.

Why Get a Colonoscopy?

Find and Remove Precancerous Polyps
During a colonoscopy, your doctor inserts a thin, flexible tube with a high-definition camera on the end into the rectum. This allows them to view the inside of the colon, also known as the large intestine, to look for and remove growths called polyps. Polyps may be precancerous, which can lead to colon cancer.

Additional Reasons for a Colonoscopy
We also use colonoscopy to detect and examine inflamed tissue, ulcers, and bleeding and to diagnose causes of unexplained changes in bowel habits.

Colonoscopies are used for the detection of early colorectal cancers. If caught early, colorectal cancer can be cured.

Why Choose Duke

Sharper, More Detailed Images
We use high-definition colonoscopes with improved image resolution to create sharper, more detailed images inside the colon. The high-def imaging has proven to increase the detection rate of abnormal findings in the colon, including smaller polyps, which may be harder to detect when standard imaging is used.

Additional Imaging Options
Endoscopic ultrasound, MRI, PET, and CT colonography -- also known as “virtual colonoscopy” -- may also be used to look at the tissue and lining inside the colon.

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Experts in GI Screening and Imaging
Our gastroenterologists are specialists in the digestive system and undergo advanced training in imaging techniques that detect abnormalities throughout the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. We screen a high volume of people for colon cancer and other GI tract abnormalities and have the expertise to identify, remove, and treat precancerous polyps and colon cancer at the earliest possible stage.

Best Cancer Hospital in North Carolina

Where you receive your cancer care is important. Duke University Hospital is proud of our team and the exceptional care they provide. They are why our cancer program is nationally ranked, and the highest-ranked program in North Carolina, according to U.S. News & World Report for 2024–2025.

This page was medically reviewed on 06/25/2024 by