Colon Cancer Screening in Florida

Ready to Consult a GI Physician?

Find a Provider

Colorectal cancer is the third most frequently diagnosed cancer, yet it's also among the most preventable. The large intestine, comprising the colon and rectum, plays a vital role in absorbing water and nutrients from digested food and storing waste until it is expelled.

A colon cancer screening involves examining the inner walls of the colon and rectum for polyps or cancerous growths, even in the absence of gastrointestinal symptoms. Polyps are noncancerous growths that can potentially turn cancerous over time. Detecting and removing these polyps and any malignant tumors early can prevent complications and fatalities associated with colon cancer.

At Gastroenterology Associates of Florida, our board-certified gastroenterologists regularly conduct colon cancer screenings and recommend that everyone start these screenings at age 45. To schedule a screening, contact a location in Florida near you.

What are the benefits of colorectal cancer screenings?

Regular screenings for colon and rectal cancer are crucial for maintaining both overall and gastrointestinal health. While there are various methods for screening, such as stool testing, a colonoscopy remains the most effective preventive measure. The benefits of colorectal cancer screenings include:

  • Significantly reduces the risk of dying from colon cancer
  • Screenings can catch colon or rectal cancer in its early stages
  • Identifying and removing polyps in the colon and rectum
  • Regular screenings can help prevent the development of colon cancer
  • Screenings can also detect other gastrointestinal issues

Colon cancer often does not present symptoms until it is advanced. Periodic screenings allow doctors to identify and address any issues early, improving outcomes and potentially saving lives.

Discussing the timing and type of colon cancer screenings with your GI provider is essential. Several tests are available for screening, including:

  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy: This procedure uses a sigmoidoscope, a thin, flexible tube with a camera, to examine the rectum and lower part of the colon. It allows the physician to view the inner walls, take biopsies, and remove some polyps. However, to inspect the entire colon, a colonoscopy is required. While generally safe, it carries a small risk of bowel tears, bleeding, and infection.
  • Colonoscopy: A colonoscope, similar to a sigmoidoscope but longer, is used to examine the entire colon. This procedure involves inserting the colonoscope through the rectum to view the colon's inner walls. It allows for biopsy and polyp removal. Sedation is necessary, and there's a minor risk of bowel tears, bleeding, or infection. Notably, colonoscopy is the primary strategy for colorectal cancer prevention.
  • Virtual colonoscopy: This noninvasive technique involves a CT scan to take cross-sectional images of the colon. The patient lies on a CT scanner table, and the scan creates detailed images. Sedation is not needed. If abnormalities are detected, a traditional colonoscopy is necessary to remove polyps or tumors.
  • Double-contrast barium enema: In this procedure, a small tube is inserted into the rectum, and a mixture of barium sulfate and air is introduced into the colon. The barium coats the colon's outer walls, and X-ray images reveal any abnormalities. If issues are found, a colonoscopy is required to remove polyps or tumors.
  • Fecal tests: These involve analyzing a stool sample and are entirely safe. Although fecal tests might not confirm cancer, they can indicate gastrointestinal abnormalities that need further investigation. A positive result necessitates a follow-up colonoscopy. There are three main types of fecal tests:
    • Fecal occult blood test (FOBT): Detects hidden blood in the stool through a chemical reaction.
    • Fecal immunochemical test (FIT): Uses a specific immunochemical reaction to detect hidden blood in the stool.
    • Stool DNA test: Identifies abnormal DNA genes in cells shed from cancerous growths or polyps in the stool sample.

Understanding the risk factors for colon cancer can help you stay proactive about your health. Those at higher risk include:

  • Individuals aged 45 and older
  • People with inherited familial adenomatous polyposis
  • Those with a history of colon cancer
  • Women with a history of breast, ovarian, or uterine cancer
  • People with a family history of colon cancer
  • Individuals with ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease
  • People with unhealthy lifestyles

By understanding these risk factors, you can take steps to monitor your health and schedule regular screenings.

Early detection is key to preventing and effectively treating colon cancer, and regular screenings make this possible. If you're 45 or older, or if you have risk factors for colon cancer, it's important to schedule a screening. At Gastroenterology Associates of Florida, our physician-led network of gastroenterologists prioritizes patient care and uses cutting-edge technology to ensure optimal digestive health. To learn more or to book your colon cancer screening, reach out to your nearest Florida office today.

Find A Provider Find A Location
Why is screening for colon cancer important?

Colorectal cancer commonly starts from growths in the large intestine (colon) or rectum, referred to as polyps. With a colonoscopy exam, these precancerous growths can be excised to help lower the risk of and potentially prevent colon cancer from occurring. Having regular colon cancer screenings may also allow physicians to find cancer that is already present. It may be easier to treat colon or rectal cancer when the disease is detected in the early stages.

At what age should I begin colon cancer screenings?

Individuals at average risk for the disease are advised to start regular colorectal cancer screenings when they turn 45. Adults carrying a higher risk may need earlier screenings. Your GI physician can help you determine when you should begin having colon cancer exams.

How frequently should I have a colon cancer screening?

The intervals at which patients should have colorectal cancer screenings may depend on the type of screening being performed. In general, individuals who are age 45 and older should have a colonoscopy once every decade when they carry an average risk of developing colorectal cancer and experience normal colonoscopy results. Patients with a significantly high risk are advised to have colonoscopy screenings at least once every five years. For details on how often you should schedule screenings for colon cancer, please talk to your GI physician.

What can I do to prepare for my colorectal cancer screening?

The best way to prep for a colon cancer screening will vary according to the type of screening received. When having a colonoscopy exam, detailed information on how to prepare will be given to you by your gastroenterology team before your procedure to clean out your large intestine. Your gastroenterologist may also provide specific instructions to follow in the days leading up to your exam. It is vital to abide by your physician's instructions to help ensure they can observe any concerns when conducting your screening.

I have been seeing Dr Simon for almost 20 years and he has been nothing but great. He really cares about you as a person. He is very thorough and actually listens to you. I go every five years because of a history of colon cancer in the family and remembers me every time. A really great guy and doctor.

I.F. Google


Total Reviews


Average Rating