Get Screened: Schedule a Colonoscopy
It's easy with direct access appointments
Expedited scheduling, no office visit required and no additional co-pay when you meet medical criteria.
7 Reasons to get Screened for Colon Cancer
- Colon cancer is the third largest cancer killer
- Colon cancer is more common in men and women over age 50
- Testing can find non-cancerous colon polyps when they can be easily removed. Polyps are small growths that may turn into cancer if not removed
- Testing can find colon cancer early, when it's easily cured
- You are at higher risk for colon cancer if you have a personal history of polyps, colon cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, or a family history of colon cancer or polyps
- If you have a family history of other cancers (breast, ovarian, or uterine), you are at higher risk for colon cancer
- If you have any signs or symptoms such as rectal bleeding, a screening should be done immediately
What is a Colonoscopy?
Colonoscopy is a diagnostic procedure that allows the doctor to examine the entire length of the large intestine. Colonoscopy can assist in identifying problems with the colon, such as early signs of cancer, inflamed tissue, ulcers, and bleeding. Colonoscopy is also used to screen for colorectal cancer, the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S. and the fourth most common cancer in men and women.
An endoscope, which is a long, flexible, lighted tube (also called a colonoscope), is inserted through the rectum into the colon. In addition to allowing visualization of the internal colon, the colonoscope enables the doctor to irrigate, suction, inject air, and access the bowel with surgical instruments. During a colonoscopy, the doctor may remove tissue and/or polyps for further examination and possibly treat any problems that are discovered.
Who Should Have a Colonoscopy?
Everyone age 50 or older should have some form of colon cancer screening. Those with a strong family history of colon cancer may need screening earlier than 50. Colonoscopy is a form of colon cancer screening that has the advantage of finding tumors and potential tumors the earliest. Early tumors can also be removed during a colonoscopy. If your colonoscopy is normal and you have not family history, then you will not need another exam for 10 years.
Who Performs Colonoscopies?
Specialists called gastroenterologists perform endoscopy procedures, as well as some general surgeons and surgeons who specialize in colon and rectal surgery.
Direct Access Screening Colonoscopy
If you're healthy and meet the medical guidelines, you or your primary care physician can call direct to schedule a screening colonoscopy. We've made scheduling easier so you do not need to first schedule an office visit with a gastroenterologist. Many patients appreciate this option as they save on co-pay and time away from work. Just ask your doctor for a referral.
Are you eligible to schedule a Direct Access Colonoscopy?
You meet one of the following criteria:
None of the following apply to you:
- Age 50 to 75 years for average risk.
- Family history of colon cancer or adenomatous polyp in first degree relative—starting at age 40 or 10 years before the age at which first degree relative was diagnosed with colon cancer (whichever is earlier)
- Prior personal history of polyps requiring follow-up
- Advanced or multiple (>3) adenomas: screening recommended every 3 years
- 1 or 2 small (<1 cm) adenomas: screening recommended every 5 years
- Age 75 or older
- Weight greater than 350 pounds
- Patient unable to perform consent
- Artificial heart valve
- Lung disease that is steroid- or oxygen-dependent
- Sleep Apnea
- Within last six months:
- Myocardial infarction/angina/severe congestive heart failure
- Coagulopathy/hereditary hemorrhagic disorders/anticoagulation test (INR) > 1.5, platelets < 75 K, on Coumadin®, Heparin®, Plavix®, Predaxa®, Lovanox® or other anticoagulant
- Patient with automatic Implanted Cardiac Defibrillator (ICD)
- Insulin-dependent diabetes
If you meet the medical eligibility requirements above:
Step 1: Ask your primary care provider to refer you for a colonoscopy. It generally takes a week for the Endoscopy Department to review and screen each patient to confirm eligibility.
Step 2: Once you have received approval, call 425.690.3636 to schedule a colonoscopy appointment (lead time is generally 4 weeks.)
Step 3: Within one week, you should receive your colonoscopy appointment confirmation and your prescription for Trilyte from the Endoscopy Department. Get your prescription filled.
Step 4: Find someone to drive you home (or if taking a taxi, to escort you home) as this is a sedated procedure. Give your escort Pick up Instructions.
Step 5: Carefully read and follow the instructions for Preparation for Colonoscopy.
Step 6: On the day of your procedure, check-in at Admitting (inside the main entrance to the hospital) one hour prior to your appointment time. Get directions to VMC.
If you do not meet the medical eligibility requirements:
You are not eligible for a direct access screening and will be scheduled for a GI consult prior to scheduling you for a colonoscopy.