About Colon Cancer Screening and Colonoscopy

Colon Cancer Screening

Colorectal cancer, which is commonly called colon cancer, is the fourth most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States. It’s also the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S. That’s why colon cancer screening should be an important part of taking care of your health.

Generally, we recommend people receive their first colonoscopy at age 50. However, we may recommend screening at an earlier age in certain cases. If you have a family history of colon cancer or have been diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease, we may suggest an earlier screening.

Colonoscopy for Colon Cancer Screening

During a colonoscopy, the doctor examines your colon (large intestine) and rectum with a long, flexible tube. The tube has a light and a camera on the end. The doctor inserts the tube into the rectum and large intestine to look for polyps, which are small growths that could become cancerous. The doctor also looks for tumors and other abnormalities. If the doctor finds a small polyp, he will probably remove it. If he sees a large polyp, tumor, or anything else concerning, he will take a sample of it to send to a lab for testing.

Before the test, the doctor will give you some dietary guidelines to follow and medications such laxatives to help clear the colon so he has the best view of the inner lining.

The time it takes for the screening test varies from person to person, but it typically lasts 20-30 minutes. You will be sedated, comfortable, and asleep during the procedure, and you will need a short time afterwards to recover.

After the colonoscopy, your doctor will follow up with you to discuss the results of your screening and let you know if you will need additional exams or procedures. You can usually resume your normal activities and diet the day after the test.

Colon cancer screening is an important part of your routine healthcare. If you are age 50 or older, we recommend you have a colonoscopy. See one of the trained, experienced, board-certified gastroenterologists at Digestive Health Associates.

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