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Colorectal Cancer Screening / Colonoscopy

Colon cancer remains one of the most common cancers in the U.S. It can be deadly when found at late stages, but if found early it often can be cured. Colonoscopy is an outpatient procedure that can be used to look for early cancer or colon polyps that may become cancer. Colon polyps can be removed during colonoscopy.

Why Screen for Colorectal Cancer?

Why Screen for Colorectal Cancer?

Who should have a colonoscopy?

  • Any adult age 50 or older should have colon cancer screening. Colonoscopy currently is the most comprehensive colon cancer screening test.
  • If you have a family history of colon cancer or colon polyps, please let us or your doctor know, as you may be due for a colonoscopy before age 50.
  • If you have had a colonoscopy, the date to repeat the test will depend on the results of the previous colonoscopy, in addition to family history of colon cancer or colon polyps.

You may ask your doctor or schedule a consultation with us in the GI & Endoscopy Lab (see below) to determine when you are due. Please bring records of your previous test as well as knowledge of your family history.

How to prepare for a colonoscopy?

To prepare for a colonoscopy, we will instruct you to drink a bowel cleanse and stop eating at a specific time before the procedure. You will need to arrange for a ride home, as we recommend that you not drive for 24 hours after the procedure because the medications may make you sleepy.

What to expect during and after the colonoscopy?

A colonoscopy typically lasts 30 to 60 minutes. A healthcare professional will give you sedatives or other medication to help you relax during the procedure. You may remain aware of your surroundings but should only have minimal discomfort, if any.

During the procedure, the gastroenterologist may remove polyps. Colon polyps are common in adults and are harmless in most cases. However, most colon cancer begins as a colon polyp, so removing polyps early is an effective way to prevent cancer. You will know right after whether there were any findings on your exam.

As soon as you have recovered from the procedure, you will be able to resume your normal diet, and you may return to work the next day.

Questions to Ask About a High-Quality Colonoscopy

Colorectal cancer begins at age 50 or earlier


We provide colonoscopies for colorectal cancer screening for new and established patients in our state-of-the-art GI & Endoscopy Lab.

If you are a patient interested in scheduling a screening or follow-up colonoscopy, please call 312.413.7676 and leave a confidential voicemail message with your name, date of birth, and telephone number. We will contact you within five business days to schedule your appointment.

If you are a healthcare provider outside the UI Health system who wants to refer a patient for screening colonoscopy, please download the referral form (docx) and fax to our scheduling department at 312.413.3798. Our staff will contact your patient and schedule a screening colonoscopy appointment.