Health & Wellness

Guest Column

Screening Colonoscopy Saves Lives

Colon cancer is one of the most common cancers and most preventable, cancers. Dr. Tamir Ben-Menachem, SMG Gastroenterologist, talks about the importance of colon cancer screenings. Credits: Summit Medical Group

Regular screenings are the best way to prevent and detect colon and rectal cancer early. While colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer among men and women in the U.S., it is also highly treatable when caught in the beginning stages.

Colorectal cancer rarely causes symptoms when it first develops. That is why a screening test, called a colonoscopy, is so important. A colonoscopy can detect cancer early and find precancerous polyps—abnormal growths in the colon or rectum—so they can be removed before turning into cancer. Everyone who is eligible should have a colonoscopy beginning at age 50. 

“If we do a colonoscopy on 100 people at the age of 50, as many as 30 people will have precancerous polyps,” says Kelly Krueger, MD, a gastroenterologist at Summit Medical Group (SMG).  “A colonoscopy allows us to find these growths and remove them before they turn into something bad 10 years down the road.”

Sign Up for E-News

What is a colonoscopy?

  • This 30-minute test allows your doctor to look at the inside of your colon and rectum for any signs of cancer or small growths called polyps that can become cancerous over time.
  • You will be sedated with a light anesthesia for about an hour and sleep through the procedure.
  • A flexible tube called a colonoscope with a tiny camera on the end is inserted into your rectum. The camera sends pictures to a small TV screen.
  • If your doctor finds polyps, they may be removed during the procedure. This will lower your risk of developing cancer in the future.
  • Abnormal growths, such as large polyps or tumors, may be biopsied or removed and sent to the laboratory for testing.
  • The test is typically repeated every 10 years unless you are at high risk for colon cancer.

How I prepare for my colonoscopy?

  • Your bowels must be completely empty to get clear pictures of the colon and rectum.
  • During your phone call with the doctor’s office you will be given instructions for bowel prep.
  • The day before the procedure you will be on a liquid-only diet.
  • You will be given a substance to drink that contains laxatives. This will make you go to the bathroom frequently and help clean out your bowels.

How will I feel after the procedure?

  • You may feel tired.
  • You may experience minor bloating.
  • A family member or friend will need to drive you home.
  • You will not be able to work for the remainder of the day.

I have heard about other noninvasive screening methods for colon cancer. Why is a colonoscopy best?

  • Cologuard is a noninvasive stool test that can find hidden blood in your stool and identify changes in your DNA that are signs of cancer.
  • Unlike a colonoscopy, stool tests cannot identify and remove precancerous polyps.
  • A colonoscopy continues to be the gold standard for colon and rectal cancer screening. Patients who are eligible and able to be sedated should have the procedure. 
  • Cologuard is about 90 percent accurate when detecting colon cancer. If a stool test is positive, your doctor will send you for a colonoscopy.

COMING SOON TO SMG: Direct Access Colonoscopy

SMG’s new direct access colonoscopy scheduling tool will make prevention even easier for patients. The service is designed for patients, ages 50 to 75, who are in generally good health and not actively experiencing symptoms, such as rectal bleeding or abdominal pain. A referral from a primary care physician is not required and there is no need for a pre-procedure appointment in most instances.

How will Direct Access Colonoscopy work?

  • Patients will be able to sign up for a colonoscopy directly through SMG’s online tool.  You do not need a referral.
  • The system will match you with a local physician, or you can request a doctor you already know.
  • Within five business days, the physician’s office will call you to complete a 10-minute colonoscopy assessment questionnaire.
  • If you are eligible for the procedure, an appointment will be scheduled.
  • During the phone call, a nurse will explain how you need to prepare your bowel for the procedure.

Who is eligible for a Direct Access Colonoscopy?

  • Anyone over 50 years old who is in generally good health.
  • If you have medical problems and are not in good health you may still need a colonoscopy, but an appointment with a gastroenterologist will need to be done first.
  • If you have a family history of colorectal cancer or inflammatory bowel diseases, such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease, you may need to be screened before age 50.

Talk to your physician about the right time to start. 

If you are over 75 years old, have difficulty with anesthesia, a history of bleeding disorders or sleep apnea, or medical conditions that affect the heart, lung, liver or kidney, please talk with your doctor about whether you are eligible for a colonoscopy.

“The easier we make the procedure, the more patients will be screened,” says Dr. Krueger. “Direct access colonoscopy is designed to make screening for colon and rectal cancer as convenient as possible for healthy patients who are busy and do not need a pre-procedure appointment.”



  1. Interview with Kelly Krueger, MD, gastroenterologist at Summit Medical Group. 14 February 2017. Web.
  2.  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Colorectal Cancer Screening. Web. 2014.
  3. The American Cancer Society. Colorectal Cancer: Facts & Figures. Web. 2014.


The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer. Click here to submit a Guest Column.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Newark Residents and Businesses Sound Off on Amazon HQ2

March 23, 2018

NEWARK, NJ - As Amazon continues to search for the home of its second corporate headquarters, the City of Newark is pleased to be in the esteemed company of 20 worthy locations nationwide.

The City is reaching out, on an individual basis, to see how its businesses and residents feel about the potential of welcoming Amazon to Newark. Canvassers recently flooded downtown locations throughout ...

Retro Fitness Calls Stafford Police to Remove Man for Praying for Another Member

March 23, 2018

STAFFORD, NJ - Retro Fitness club member and Long Beach Township resident Craig Fasler was escorted by a member of the Stafford Township Police Department out of the gym because an employee accused him of sharing his faith in public. 

TAPinto Stafford-LBI was contacted by a Stafford Township resident about the incident that took place on Wednesday, March 21 around ...

Letter to the Editor: Mis-management At Presby Threatens Future of the Garden

March 23, 2018

Dear Editor,

It is with concern that I bring this subject to the attention to all who care and treasure the Presby Memorial Iris Garden, which along with the cherry trees of Branch Brook Park is one of the crown jewels of the Essex County Park System.  This historic garden founded 90 years ago by Frank Presby on  Upper Mt. Ave. is known internationally for its collection which ...

Montclair Police Blotter: Man Arrested for Animal Cruelty, Juveniles Charged with Breaking into Cars and More

March 22, 2018

MONTCLAIR, NJ - The following blotter was compiled by the Montclair Police Department on March 3, 2018:

03-17- 2018 (Pine Street) Two Montclair juveniles (15 & 16yoa) were arrested after being observed
breaking into multiple vehicles. One of the juveniles was charged with theft, the other with Possession
of CDS.
03-18- 2018 (Eagle Rock Way) Mr. Lawrence Athill, 64yoa from ...

'Trying' explores age, youth and points of history in poignant production

‘Trying’ explores youth, age and points of history in poignant production

By Liz Keill

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – The George Street Playhouse presents an engrossing, two-character play based on the real life of Francis Biddle, former Attorney General.

Biddle, a Harvard educated lawyer, served under Franklin Roosevelt and later Harry Truman during the Nuremberg Tribunal. His ...

Dzieci Theatre Passion, set in Warsaw Ghetto, to come to Christ Church Bloomfield Glen Ridge Palm Sunday

March 23, 2018

GLEN RIDGE, NJ - Christ Church of Bloomfield / Glen Ridge invites the community to a performance of the Passion Play by Dzici Theatre on Palm Sunday March 25 at 10:30 a.m. 

Set in the shadow of the Warsaw ghetto, Dzieci refined their text from the earliest existing translations, relying heavily on the Aramaic Pashita, incorporating Hebraic song and chant, and ritual elements of ...