Colon Cancer Screening

Current guidelines recommend that most adults begin their colorectal cancer screenings at age 50. Those under age 50 with other risk factors and symptoms should talk with their physician or a specialist at the Swedish Colon and Rectal Clinic about possibly starting colorectal cancer screenings before age 50.

Colonoscopy helps detect the polyps that are predecessors of colon cancer. Finding and removing these polyps prevents the development of colorectal cancers in nearly all cases. If cancer is already present, colonoscopy can help find it early enough for successful treatment.

Physicians at Swedish have specialized training and expertise in screening and diagnosing colorectal cancer. Optical (traditional) colonoscopy remains the gold standard for screening. At Swedish, colonoscopies are performed thousands of times a year by colorectal surgeons and gastroenterologists—making Swedish's colorectal cancer screening program the largest in the Northwest.

Genetic screening can help doctors better tailor colon cancer screening tests and procedures

Genetic counseling and test, which is offered through the SCI’s Hereditary Cancer Clinic, focuses on patients and families at risk for hereditary cancers, including colorectal cancers.

The results of genetic testing can significantly influence a patient’s appropriate screening tests and medical procedures for relatives who may be at risk of cancer.