What To Look For When Selecting a Gastroenterologist


Having a colonoscopy done is an essential step in preventing colon cancer. That's why it's critical to choose the right specialist. A colonoscopy is considered an invasive procedure, so you should feel comfortable with your doctor and trust his/her ability to find possible signs of colon cancer to reduce your risk of disease progression.

Here are three key things to look for when searching for a colonoscopy doctor:

  1. Gastroenterologist vs. General Physician/Surgeon
  2. Board Certification
  3. Physicians detection rate of pre-cancerous polyps (growths)

A Gastroenterologist

You may be surprised to know that doctors don't have to specialize in gastrointestinal disease to perform a colonoscopy. However, research shows that colonoscopies performed by gastroenterologists prevent more deaths from colorectal cancer. A 2012 study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology revealed that individuals who had colonoscopies performed by a gastroenterologist or colorectal surgeon were at a lower risk of dying from colorectal cancer than individuals who had colonoscopies performed by primary care physicians or general surgeons.

A Board Certification

A board-certified physician is a doctor that has completed extensive specialized training in the form of a fellowship and has passed an examination. Moreover, for a board-certified physician to maintain his/her certification, he/she must complete yearly continuing education courses — continuing education reinforces the clinical knowledge and skills of the physician. The combination of specialty training and continuing education ensures the physician provides patients with the highest quality of care.

A Higher Adenoma Detection Rate (ADR)

One measure of a quality colonoscopy is adenoma detection rate (ADR) — the percentage of individuals who have undergone a complete first-time screening colonoscopy who have had one or more pre-cancerous polyps (adenomas) detected. ADR varies for each physician and is vital to consider when looking for a colonoscopy doctor in DFW and anywhere else in the world. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2015 shows that the quality of a colonoscopy is a significant indicator of the procedure's effectiveness. More specifically, a higher ADR was associated with a lower risk of developing colorectal cancer and death from colorectal cancer. The study also examined the overall health costs related to increased polyp detection. The main takeaway from this study is that a higher quality colonoscopy lowers the risk of dying from colon cancer without increasing healthcare costs. GI Alliance has over 500 board-certified gastroenterologists throughout Arizona, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Texas. To find a board-certified gastroenterologist near you, visit our website at www.GiAlliance.com/locations.