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American Family Children's Hospital

Preventing Colon Cancer Infographic

Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death in the United States. Many of these deaths could have been prevented if the cancer had been found in the early stages. Learn more about virtual and optical colonoscopy and ask your primary care doctor for a referral to the UW Health Digestive Health Center.


Preventing Colon Cancer Infographic


Facts about Colon Cancer

  • 1 in 20 people will get colon cancer in their lifetime.
  • 1/3 of people diagnosed with colon cancer will die from the disease.
  • With screening, colorectal cancer can be prevented.
  • Increased screening could save 30,000 lives in the U.S. each year.
  • There are 2 optimal ways to detect colon cancer - optical colonoscopy or virtual colonoscopy.
  • If you are hesitant, consider a virtual colonoscopy. Instead of inserting a camera, computer software creates a 3D image of the colon and rectum. If polyps are found, they can be removed the same day using optical colonoscopy.
  • Get screened for colon cancer every 10 years, every 5 years for virtual colonoscopy.
  • Have a colonoscopy at age 50, or earlier if you have a close relative who has had colorectal cancer.
  • 90%of people diagnosed with colon cancer are age 50 or older.
  • You will need to drink 1 bottle of prep the day before your colonoscopy. It takes 24 hours for your entire colon to empty.
  • You will receive a light sedative before a colonoscope, a thin and flexible tube, is inserted into the rectum and colon. It has a lens and light source to allow the doctor to view images on a monitor.
  • If you received a sedative, you will need a driver to take you home.
  • A colonoscopy procedure takes about 45 minutes.
  • Physicians look for and remove polyps, which can be pre-cancerous tissue. Polyps occur in 15-20% of the adult population.
  • Polyps vary in size from a tiny dot to several inches in diameter.
  • New polyps will develop in at least 30% of people who had polyps.
  • Most polyps can be completely removed during the procedure and it doesn’t cause discomfort. The polyps are then examined by a pathologist to determine the tissue type and to detect cancer.
  • Less than .1% of UW Health patients experience any type of complication from colonoscopy. Your chance of getting colon cancer
    is much higher.