Importance of colorectal screenings

Colorectal cancer is the second most common cause of cancer deaths among Americans, and studies show both the incidence and death rates among people younger than 50 are on the rise. Lifetime risk factors are similar in men and women, it can be reduced by increasing physical activity, keeping healthy weight, limiting alcohol consumption, and avoiding tobacco.

For the general population, the recommended age for screening colonoscopy is 45.  Some individuals may need screening earlier if they have a family member with colorectal cancers or polyps, have certain diseases, or have other symptoms like bleeding. Dr. Scott Holekamp, a Colorectal Surgeon who practices with St. Clair Medical Group expresses, “We have seen an increase in the number of colorectal cancers in the younger population over the past several years. This has been reflected not only at a national level but locally as well. That’s why we encourage our patients to continue annual wellness exams and preventative screenings, when necessary, for early detection.”

St. Clair Health offers colonoscopy screenings, imaging tools, and a variety or treatment options to ensure that our patients have a complete circle of care without having to travel far from home.


A colonoscopy is a procedure used to examine the lining of the colon and rectum to detect abnormalities.  During a colonoscopy a flexible to (colonoscope) is inserted into the rectum and a tidy video camera at the tip allows the physician to view the inside of the entire colon. During this procedure abnormalities can be biopsied, and polyps (precursors to cancer) can be removed at the same time.


CT scans are special x-rays processed by computer and evaluated by our radiologists. They produce cross-sectional images of the body and can be used to identify the extent of the colon cancer in its involvement with other organs. 

MRI scan are similar to CT scans but use magnetic signals instead of x-rays to study specific organs in the body like the brain, liver, rectum in more precise detail.

PET CT scan combines CT scans images with a special imaging modality that identifies increased metabolism (identified by sugar uptake) that could indicate cancer.

Endoscopic ultrasound can be used for evaluation of small tumors that are not easily characterize because of their size on CT scan or MRI.


Polypectomy occurs during the colonoscopy a polypectomy can commonly be performed using a snare or a specialized set a forceps to remove a polyp and prevent it from becoming a colon cancer.

Transanal endoscopic microsurgery is similar to colonoscopy but uses cameras and specialized instruments to remove large polyps or small cancers without the need for abdominal incisions.

laparoscopic colon and rectal resection (minimally invasive) uses cameras and specialized instruments to remove a segment of the colon using minimal incisions to decrease recovery time, minimize complications, and improve the patient experience.

Robotic colon and rectal resection (minimally invasive) uses a robotic platform that includes specialized instruments and cameras as an extension of the surgeon to help perform tedious or difficult surgeries that otherwise not be possible laparoscopically or open.

Traditional colon or rectal resection requires accessing the abdominal cavity using a larger incision to remove a diseased or cancerous segment of bowel.

“It’s important to have clear communication with your primary care provider (PCP) as many colorectal cancers appear with little to zero symptoms,” says Dr. Holekamp. Some common symptoms that may occur include bloating, abdominal pain, change in bowel habits, or bleeding.  We encourage you to discuss any concerns with your PCP who may refer you to a specialist for a more extensive evaluation. Click here to learn more about St. Clair Medical Group Colorectal Surgery and our experts.

cancer, colorectal cancer, Colorectal Surgery, Holekamp, preventative screenings, Scott Holekamp