Colonoscopy

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Question

Should I get a colonoscopy and how often do I need one?

Answer

If you are over the age of 50, you should get a colonoscopy. If you have a family history of colon cancer, your physician may recommend colonoscopies at an earlier age. Both colon and rectal cancer can start from polyps in the colon in the colon or rectum. Polyps, or growths that are abnormal and don't belong in your body, can develop into cancers.

What is a colonscopy?

Your doctor will insert a small, lighted tube through your rectum and colon during a colonoscopy. During the procedure, your doctor will check for polyps or cancer inside your colon and rectum and can even remove some polyps and cancers during this procedure. A procedure similar to a colonoscopy, a sigmoidoscopy, only checks the rectum and lower third of the colon. If the results of this procedure are normal, you should get colonoscopies every 10 years or sigmoidoscopies every 5 years.

Learn more about Colon Cancer in our Health Encyclopedia.

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