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


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.

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Answers to questions regarding information about medications or health conditions are not for diagnostic or treatment purposes and are not conclusive as to the presence or absence of any health condition. Consult your physician for diagnosis and treatment of your medical condition. The information provided is not a substitute for medical advice. Advances in medicine may cause this information to become outdated, invalid or subject to debate. Professional opinions and interpretations of the scientific literature may vary. Walgreens' terms of use and general warranty disclaimer apply to all services provided. If you are in need of immediate medical attention, contact your physician, poison control center or emergency medical professional. If you need to speak with a pharmacist for non-emergency matters, contact your local Walgreens pharmacist or call a pharmacist toll-free at 1 (877) 250-5823.

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