When Should I Have a Colonscopy?

Your level of risk determines when and how often you should receive this vital screening.

The mission of National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month is to spread the word about this deadly disease and how colonoscopies save lives. Since colorectal cancer doesn't always feature obvious symptoms, a colonoscopy is the only way to gauge your colon's health.

What is a colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy is a type of screening whose goal is to detect:

  • Any sign of cancer in the large intestine
  • Inflamed tissue
  • Abnormal growths
  • Ulcers

A colonoscopy also answers your health questions if you've been experiencing:

If I have no problematic symptoms, when should I have a colonoscopy?
After you turn 50 years old, physicians recommend a colonoscopy every 10 years for both men and women. Some guidelines recommend that routine screening continue until age 76, with screening being an option between ages 76 and 85, depending on overall health and risk factors. Screening is not recommended after the age of 85.

Who needs colonoscopies more often?
Certain conditions require surveillance before you turn 50 and with greater frequency because these raise your risk of developing colorectal cancer. Your physician will recommend when and how often to have a colonoscopy if you:

  • Have a family member with a form of colorectal cancer
  • Family history of inflammatory bowel disease

It is also important to tell your physician if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Discomfort in the abdominal region
  • Bloody stool
  • Unusual bowel health such as diarrhea or constipation
  • Anemia

It's important to remember that colorectal cancer doesn't always have symptoms, or some may develop gradually and are easily mistaken for other conditions. For that reason, it's essential that you receive a colonoscopy beginning at 50, after which age the majority of colorectal cancers occur.

Colorectal cancer is the second most fatal cancer in the US at this time. Invest in your intestinal health to ensure a long, healthy life. To learn more, visit us online. If you would like a physician referral, please call us at (855) 477-DRMC (3762).

Related Posts:
What to Expect from a Colonoscopy
What Men Need Checked at their Annual Check-up

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