Is a Screening Different From a Diagnostic Colonoscopy?

Cancer of the colon threatens the health of millions of adults each year. If the condition is found early, colon and rectal cancer can generally be treated effectively, leading to a high survival rate. Undergoing periodic colon cancer testing allows physicians to check for premalignant or irregular tissues in the colon (large intestine) and rectum, and evaluate for any changes should a patient's risk of developing the disease prove to be elevated.

Even though the majority of individuals realize what a colonoscopy is, a lesser number understand the difference between a screening colonoscopy vs. a diagnostic colonoscopy. At Digestive Health Associates of Texas, our board-certified gastroenterologists regularly provide screening and diagnostic colonoscopies for Dallas, TX adults. Please continue reading to learn more about these colonoscopy procedures, when they could be necessary, and how they can help preserve your health.

What is a screening colonoscopy?

The gastrointestinal (GI) doctors at Digestive Health Associates of Texas may recommend a screening colonoscopy to evaluate for abnormal tissues in the colon or rectum, polyps (growths), or other signs that cancer of the colon or rectum has the potential to develop. A screening colonoscopy, also called a preventive colonoscopy, is commonly recommended once every decade for adults age 45 and over who exhibit no symptoms and who carry an average chance of developing colon or rectal cancer. These screenings also establish baseline information to which all subsequent colonoscopies can be compared.

Ideal candidates for a preventive colonoscopy exam often are individuals having:

- No family history of colon or rectal cancer

- No indications of gastrointestinal health problems

- No personal history of colon or rectal cancer

- No history of polyps or other irregularities in the colon

- No past or present gastrointestinal health diagnoses

When is a diagnostic colonoscopy recommended?

Should any signs of malignant or premalignant growths be detected, our Dallas, TX gastroenterologists will often recommend a diagnostic colonoscopy exam. These signs might involve having past concerns (such as polyps in the colon) or receiving a positive noninvasive screening for colon cancer, such as Cologuard®, which is a home-based testing product. Diagnostic colonoscopies, also referred to as surveillance or follow-up colonoscopy tests, vary from screening colonoscopies, as such procedures are conducted when there is a greater chance that cancer could develop or when there are signs that colorectal cancer may already be present.

Ideal candidates for surveillance colonoscopy procedures are often individuals having:

- A history of colon polyps or other tissue abnormalities

- Positive colon cancer screening tests

- A personal history of colon cancer

- A history of GI concerns

- Past or current gastrointestinal symptoms

What are other variations between screening vs. diagnostic colonoscopies?

Having colonoscopies is very important for identifying and preventing the development of colon cancer. While a screening colonoscopy and a diagnostic colonoscopy are typically conducted in the same manner, they are carried out for different reasons. The amount insurance policies cover for screening vs. diagnostic colonoscopy generally differs. It is essential to understand your insurance policy and consult your insurance company to learn more about your personal benefits and coverage in relation to colonoscopy procedures.

Meet with a Dallas, TX colonoscopy doctor near you

Having routine colonoscopy exams as recommended by a GI doctor is vital to maintaining your colon health and general wellness. Our colonoscopy doctors in Dallas, TX believe in a patient-driven approach to care for and partner one-on-one with every individual to help ensure their gastrointestinal concerns are addressed. Contact our attentive team today for additional details or to reserve a consultation for a colonoscopy at Digestive Health Associates of Texas.