Care for gastrointestinal and colorectal cancers

Cancer specialists at Ascension Saint Thomas deliver comprehensive care for gastrointestinal and colorectal cancers.

Colorectal Cancer Screenings and Care in Middle Tennessee

Getting regular colonoscopies may help find polyps and cancer early, when they are most treatable. When polyps and cancer are found early, there may be more options for treatment too. During your colonoscopy, you'll receive anesthesia before the colonoscope — a long, flexible tube containing a small camera — is inserted into your colon. This camera helps your doctor find polyps.

Colon screenings aren’t just for finding cancer, but for stopping it before it starts. While not all polyps are cancerous, they can become cancerous in the future. That’s why it's important to identify, and sometimes remove, polyps. We recommend men and women get their first colonoscopy at age 45. You may need to get a colonoscopy earlier if you have a personal or family history of polyps or colon cancer, or if you have symptoms such as:

  • Abdominal pain or discomfort
  • Change in bowel habits
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Unexplained weight loss

Talk to your primary care doctor about scheduling a colonoscopy or other colon screening.

Prioritize Your Screening

Screening is the number one way you can reduce your risk of colon or rectal cancer. Nothing you do can guarantee that you won’t get colorectal cancer, but screenings can find the disease early when there may be more treatment options available.

A colonoscopy is the most commonly performed gastrointestinal screening procedure in the United States. It allows for not only the detection of early-stage cancers, but also the detection and removal of polyps.

Talk with an Ascension Saint Thomas Gastroenterology Specialist to see what screening option is best for you.

Recognizing your risk

In the early stages of colorectal cancer, there may be no symptoms. Most colon cancers begin as polyps, which are small, non-cancerous growths on the colon wall that can grow larger and become cancerous. If you are at average risk, the American College of Gastroenterology recommends you get regular colon cancer screenings beginning at age 50, and age 45 for African Americans.

If you have any of the following, you should talk to a gastroenterology specialist:

  • A diagnosis of inflammatory bowel disease
  • Change in bowel habits
  • Family history of colon cancer
  • Rectal bleeding

We’ll connect you with the right specialists for follow-up care.

Find a Doctor

Ascension Saint Thomas Cancer Care

At Ascension Saint Thomas Cancer Care, our care teams listen to your concerns and work with you to create a personalized care plan. If cancer is detected, our care team has proactive treatments that help your long-term needs. Our gastroenterologists, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists and specialty care surgeons deliver advanced care for all stages of colorectal cancer.

Ascension Saint Thomas Advanced Gastroenterology Specialists