While the thought of getting a colonoscopy makes some people queasy, it shouldn’t prevent you from getting being screened for colon cancer, rectal cancer, or other colorectal diseases. Regular screening is recommended for:
- Everyone age 50 and older
- People with a family history of colorectal cancer
- African Americans over the age of 45
Avoiding colonoscopy is a major reason why colon cancer -- a preventable, treatable, and potentially curable disease -- is the third leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S. 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 percent.
Duke Health offers locations throughout the Triangle. Find one near you.
Why Get a Colonoscopy?
Find and Remove Precancerous Polyps
During a colonoscopy, the doctor inserts a thin, flexible tube with a high-definition camera at its tip into the rectum. This allows the doctor to view the inside of the colon, also known as the large intestine, to look for and remove growths called polyps. Polyps (called adenomas) 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.
Why Choose Duke
Sharper, More Detailed Images
We use high-definition colonoscopes with higher image resolution that 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.
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.
Where you receive your cancer care is important. Duke University Hospital's cancer program is ranked among the nation's best by U.S. News & World Report for 2019–2020.