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Colorectal Cancer Screening 
Research shows people who have routine colorectal screenings have better treatment results and increased cancer survival rates. The most common outpatient screening method is a colonoscopy, which is completed in a hospital or clinic location. For average risk patients 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. Special instruments can be passed through the colonoscope to biopsy (take a sample) or remove any suspicious-looking areas such as polyps, if needed. This test 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.

While colonoscopies are the most common screening tool used to detect colorectal cancer, there are noninvasive at-home screening options available as well. Check with your primary care doctor to see if you would be a good candidate for an at-home colorectal screening like FIT or Cologuard®. Your doctor will determine the best screening option for you based on your risk level for colorectal cancer.

  • 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. 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

Diagnostic Procedures
The Carle Digestive Health Institute also provides a wide variety of procedures and techniques to help diagnose digestive health conditions using esophageal manometry and impedence, video capsule endoscopy, double balloon enteroscopy, and even fecal transplants when needed.

The surgeons and support team at Carle use many surgical services to care for the whole patient. Advancements in technology led to the development of minimally invasive techniques. In addition to the traditional gastrointestinal (GI) operations, our skilled colorectal surgeons are experienced in performing a wide range of robotic and laparoscopic surgeries.

Digestive Health Support Groups
From support groups to additional team members – including physical therapists, registered dieticians, social workers and more – our patients are never alone. Our collective knowledge and teamwork is a great resource for patients throughout the treatment and/or recovery process.

Facilitated by Digestive Health staff and practitioners, we offer monthly ostomy and inflammatory bowel disease support groups for patients and family members to learn more about their conditions and connect with people in similar situations. Both groups are free and open to all patients, regardless of where you receive treatment. Contact (217) 383-3610 to learn more about upcoming Ostomy and IBD support groups. 

For information related to preparing for your inpatient or outpatient DHI procedure, visit the Carle Digestive Health Tools and Instructions page. 

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Online scheduling is now available. Find the provider and time that’s right for you.

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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