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 second largest cancer killer
- Colon cancer is more common in men and women over age 45
- Testing can find pre-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 carbon dioxide (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 45 or older should have some form of colon cancer screening. Those with a strong family history of colon cancer may need screening earlier than 45. 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 no 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 can call direct to schedule a screening colonoscopy, after your provider submits your referral to our office . 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.
Are you eligible to schedule a Direct Access Colonoscopy?
You meet one of the following criteria:
None of the following apply to you:
- Age 45 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 to 10 years
- Colon cancer (personal history)
- Kidney disease
- COPD/Emphysema, or oxygen use at home
- Sleep apnea with BMI >40
- Insulin dependent diabetes or diabetes with A1C >9
- Abdominal (bowel) surgery within the last 6 months
- Gastrointestinal symptoms requiring diagnostic evaluation, such as diverticulitis
- Use of prescription blood thinners, antiplatelet drugs (other than aspirin), or a bleeding disorder
- Major heart issues or surgeries (such as pacemaker, defibrillator, coronary disease, stents, congestive heart failure, or valvular heart disease)
- Liver disease (decompensated)
- Stroke within the last 6 months
- Mobility issues such as an inability to ambulate (move yourself) or transfer independently, or require total care assistance
- Significant health issues that affect sedation or recovery
- Current drug/alcohol abuse
If you meet the medical eligibility requirements above:
Step 1: Ask your primary care provider to refer you for a colonoscopy (the fax number is 425.690.9088).
Step 2: Once you have received approval, call 425.690.3488, to schedule a colonoscopy appointment (lead time is generally 4 weeks). When you call and hear the recorded prompts, first press option 1, followed by option 2.
Step 3: Within one week, you should receive your colonoscopy appointment confirmation and your prescription for Trilyte (or other bowel prep solution) from the Gastroenterology Clinic. 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 given to you by your provider.
Step 6: On the day of your procedure, check-in at the Endoscopy Center 45 minutes 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.