Colonoscopies save lives by helping prevent cancer

Meet the doctor and understand why a colonoscopy is necessary.

Tests are recommended by the American Cancer Society (ACS), the American College of Gastroenterologists (ACG), the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA), and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF).

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Colonoscopy: Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is a colonoscopy?

A: A colonoscopy is procedure where a doctor looks inside the colon to evaluate for polyps, cancer and other colonic diseases.

Q: Why is it needed?

A: Colonoscopy is needed to prevent colon cancer. Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer related deaths, more than prostate and breast cancer combined. Colon cancer is not only curable if caught early, but is actually preventable. A colonoscopy can detect polyps (growths in the colon which are precursors to cancer) and remove them at the same time. Removing polyps prevents colon cancer. A recent, excellent study shows that screening colonoscopy can decrease death from colon cancer by up to 60%!

Q: Is a colonoscopy done in the office?

A: No, it is an outpatient procedure and performed in a surgical center. Patients receive anesthesia to keep them sleeping and comfortable during the procedure.

Q: What needs to be done prior to a colonoscopy?

The worst part of a colonoscopy is the bowel preparation. Patients need to drink a lot of laxative liquid the day before and the morning of the procedure. There is a very funny, must see, video satire on cleaning your colon for a colonoscopy: watch it here.

Q: Who should have a colonoscopy?

Current guidelines state that people age 50 or older who have no symptoms and no family history of colon cancer or polyps require a colonoscopy. Patients younger than 50 with symptoms of bleeding, unusual diarrhea, abdominal pain or cramping, a family history of colon cancer or polyps should have a colonoscopy.

There are more guidelines that can be found on the American Cancer Society website.

I had my colonoscopy at the age of 44 due to a symptom of bleeding. My colon was free of polyps. If you have any questions regarding whether or not you need a colonoscopy see your doctor.