Routine Screenings Can Detect Cancer Earlier
Endoscopy experts at Skagit Regional Health follow the guidelines of the American Cancer Society that adults receive appropriate colonoscopy procedures as an effective tool for cancer screening. Regular endoscopy screenings can detect colon cancer, esophageal cancer and other cancers and diseases long before there are symptoms. We know the earlier cancer is detected, the more likely it can be treated effectively.
Direct Access for Colonoscopies
Skagit Regional Health offers a Direct Access program to easily register, schedule and receive your colonoscopy. If you are a healthy adult older than 50 and have no colon-related symptoms such as rectal bleeding, diarrhea, abdominal pain or any other major health problems, you may call our Direct Access line to speak with one of our nurses and arrange your exam, usually within the next two to three weeks. For more information in Mount Vernon, please call 360-814-5739 Monday through Friday and in Arlington, please call 360-618-7975 Monday through Wednesday.
If you do not qualify for the Direct Access plan, one of our nurses will connect you with a direct consult line to the gastroenterology (GI) office to expedite a consult with one of the GI physicians for evaluation.
Colonoscopy for Prevention and Treatment
Leading-edge endoscopists at Skagit Regional Health provide colonoscopy procedures to look inside your colon for any signs of abnormal growth. During the colonoscopy, doctors can evaluate swollen tissue, ulcers, polyps and any other suspicious growths that may indicate cancer.
A colonoscopy can help a doctor find the cause of specific symptoms, including:
- Bleeding from your anus or black stools
- Change in your bowel activity such as constipation or diarrhea
- Unexplained pain in your abdomen
- Unintended weight loss
Recommended Screening for Colon and Rectal CancerIf you have no health issues or risk factors that increase your chance of colon cancer, it is recommended that you get a colonoscopy starting at age 50 to screen for colon and rectal cancer, also called colorectal cancer. If you have a higher risk of getting colorectal cancer, your gastroenterologist may recommend that you get a colonoscopy at a younger age and/or more frequently. After age 80, talk with your doctor about your need for a colonoscopy.
Risk Factors That Increase the Chance of Colon Cancer
Risk factors for colorectal cancer include:
- African Americans
- Cigarette smoking
- Genetics or someone in your family has had polyps or colorectal cancer
- Lynch syndrome or any genetic disorder that increases the risk of colorectal cancer
- Personal history of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) including ulcerative colitis (UC) or Crohn’s disease
For More Information About Colonoscopy Services
To learn more about Direct Access colonoscopy procedures, please contact one of our endoscopy or GI team members at Skagit Regional Health in Mount Vernon at 360-814-5739 or Arlington at 360-618-7975. We can help you make an appointment at your convenience.