Know the Facts

Getting educated about colon cancer and screening recommendations is the first step to preventing the disease.


Colon cancer affects men and women equally.


Colon cancer affects all races and ethnicities.


Colon Cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S.


Screening should begin at age 50 for all healthy adults – younger if other risk factors are present.

the single best prevention for colon cancer is the early detection and removal of colon polyps.

There are several colon cancer screening methods available. However, colonoscopy is the only test that both detects and prevents cancer. During a colonoscopy, physicians can locate and remove colon polyps before they have the opportunity to develop into colon cancer.

Research has confirmed that the single best prevention for colon cancer is the early detection and removal of colon polyps. And the best method for detection and removal is a colonoscopy.

For those with at higher risk of colon cancer – such as personal history of colon polyps, cancer, or family history of colon cancer – colonoscopy is the only recommended test.

Direct Access Colonoscopy

Complete a quick and easy online form and you may be able to schedule your colonoscopy without an office consultation.

Find out if you qualify

Not All Screening Methods Are Created Equal.

In addition to visual exams (like colonoscopy), there are stool-based screening tests available, including FIT, gFOBT, and Cologuard®. These tests check your stool (feces) for possible signs of cancer. They are less invasive than a colonoscopy, can be done in the comfort of your own home, and are an economical option for some people.

However, these tests need to be done more frequently (typically every year), can miss colon polyps and some cancers, and have resulted in many false-positive readings. In addition, if the result from a stool-based test is abnormal, you’ll still need to get a colonoscopy in order to locate and confirm a cancer diagnosis. At that time, the colonoscopy would not be considered a screening and would result in a high out-of-pocket cost to you.

According to a recent New England Journal of Medicine study, when a follow-up colonoscopy was done on those patients with a positive Cologuard reading, almost half (45%) were false positives and no cancer was found during the follow-up colonoscopy.

Get the most out of your screening benefits by choosing a colonoscopy.

Direct Access Colonoscopy

Complete a quick and easy online form and you may be able to schedule your colonoscopy without an office consultation.

Find out if you qualify

Understand your unique insurance coverage.

Screening colonoscopies are considered a preventive service, and therefore, covered by insurance companies at little to no cost to patients. However, there are strict guidelines surrounding what is determined a screening colonoscopy. This includes factors like age, personal and family medical history, active symptoms, or other colon cancer risk factors.


Always check with your insurance provider regarding your unique benefits. Check out our guide to navigating those conversations.

Colonoscopy: What You Need to Know

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Direct Access Colonoscopy

Complete a quick and easy online form and you may be able to schedule your colonoscopy without an office consultation.

Find out if you qualify

Frequently Asked Questions

Getting educated about colon cancer and screening recommendations is the first step to preventing the disease.

A. Screening is the process of looking for cancer or pre-cancer in people who have no symptoms of the disease. So, even if you are experiencing no symptoms, it’s critical to follow recommended screening guidelines. It’s one of the most powerful tools for preventing colon cancer.

According to the American Cancer Society, when colon cancer is detected early, before it has spread, the 5-year survival rate of a patient is 90%. This means 9 out of 10 people with early-stage cancer survive at least 5 years. But if the cancer has had a chance to spread outside the colon, survival rates are much lower. This is another one of the many reasons why screening is so very important.

A. Most medical guidelines recommend colon cancer screening begins for all average-risk adults starting at age 50. African Americans and those with a family history of colon cancer or polyps should start screening earlier. Talk to your doctor about when you should begin.

A. While there is no specific cause of colon cancer, certain factors can increase your risk of developing the disease. These can include:

• Age 50 or older
• Personal history of colon polyps, Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
• Family history of colon cancer or colon polyps
• A diet rich in fat and red meat
• Heavy alcohol use
• Cigarette smoking
• Obesity, diabetes, and lack of exercise

A. For those who do not have health insurance, who are underinsured, or who wish to pay without filing for insurance coverage, it’s difficult to determine the true cost of healthcare services – such as a colonoscopy.

Atlanta Gastroenterology Associates offers discounted rates for patients paying out-of-pocket. Most of our self-pay rates even include all associated fees – physician, facility, pathology, and anesthesia – so you can make an educated and confident decision about your digestive healthcare.

Self Pay Rates

Don’t Ignore the Bowl

Colon cancer symptoms are not unique. Most of the time, these same symptoms may be caused by something that isn’t cancer, such as infection, hemorrhoids, irritable bowel syndrome, or inflammatory bowel disease.

That being said, if you have any of these issues, it’s important to see your doctor right away so the cause can be found and treated, if needed:

  • A change in bowel habits, such as diarrhea, constipation, or narrowing of the stool, that lasts for more than a few days
  • A feeling that you need to have a bowel movement that is not relieved by doing so
  • Rectal bleeding, dark stools, or blood in the stool
  • Cramping or abdominal (belly) pain
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Unintended weight loss