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Bloomington - Normal

Carle BroMenn Medical Center provides comprehensive medical care for digestive health patients with an expanding team of specialists and surgeons.

Champaign - Urbana

The Digestive Health Institute at Carle Foundation Hospital provides a multi-disciplinary approach to treating each patient through screenings, medical and surgical therapies, as well as other support services.

Greater Peoria

In conjunction with Carle Health Methodist Hospital, Carle Health Gastroenterology and Carle Health Endoscopy Center at the IMC building in Peoria provide comprehensive care for patients with digestive health issues.

Can Colorectal Polyps and Cancer Be Found Early?

Screening is the process of looking for cancer or pre-cancer in people who have no symptoms of the disease. Regular colorectal cancer screening is one of the most powerful tools against colorectal cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends that people at average risk* of colorectal cancer start regular screening at age 45.   When colorectal cancer is found at an early stage before it has spread, the 5-year relative survival rate is about 90%. Several tests can be used to screen for colorectal cancer.
The most important thing is to get screened, no matter which test you choose.

*For screening, people are considered to be at average risk if they DO NOT have:

  • A personal history of colorectal cancer or certain types of polyps

  • A family history of colorectal cancer

  • A personal history of inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease)

  •  A confirmed or suspected hereditary colorectal cancer syndrome, such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or Lynch syndrome (hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer or HNPCC)


Colorectal cancer screening options

A colonoscopy is a diagnostic procedure completed in a hospital or clinic location. For an average risk patient a colonoscopy can be completed every 10 years. This type of screening looks at the inside of the colon and rectum for any abnormal areas that might be cancer or polyps. During a colonoscopy, the doctor looks at the entire length of the colon and rectum with a colonoscope, a flexible tube about the width of a finger with a light and small video camera on the end.  It’s put in through the anus and into the rectum and colon. Special instruments can be passed through the colonoscope to biopsy (take a sample) or remove any suspicious-looking areas such as polyps, if needed. It’s important that the colon and rectum are emptied before this test to get the best images, so a colonoscopy requires a bowel prep regimen prior to the appointment. Patients are typically sedated during the procedure, in which case you will need someone to drive you home.
 VIDEO - Preparing for your Colonoscopy

Fecal immunochemical test (FIT)
The fecal immunochemical test (FIT) checks for hidden blood in the stool from the lower intestines. This test must be done every year. It can be done in the privacy of your own home and there are no drug or dietary restrictions before the FIT test is completed. If the test result is positive (that is, if hidden blood is found), a follow-up colonoscopy will need to be done to investigate further. Although blood in the stool can be from cancer or polyps, it can also be from other causes, such as ulcers, hemorrhoids, or other conditions.  Reach out to your primary care doctor if you are an average risk patient eligible for an at-home FIT screening. Your health care provider will give you the supplies you need for testing.  FIT FAQ's

Cologuard® test 
Cologuard® is a noninvasive screening method that tests for both DNA changes and blood in the stool, it is effective in finding both pre-cancer and cancer. This test should be completed every 3 years. A Cologuard® test can be completed in the privacy of your own home and it does not require you to follow a special diet or change your medications prior to completing the test. Cologuard® does produce some false positive results, so any positive should be discussed with your primary care doctor and followed by a colonoscopy.  Cologuard® is prescribed through your health care provider and cannot be purchased over the counter. Reach out to your primary care doctor if you are an average risk patient eligible for an at-home Cologuard® screening.  Cologuard FAQ's 

For additional information related to colorectal cancer screening options visit the Carle Digestive Health Tools and Instructions page. 


Meet Our Team

Meet Our Team

With doctors practicing in 80 specialties at locations throughout the region, it’s easy to find the right healthcare team at Carle. Our mission is to serve people through high quality care, medical research and education.


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