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You may call our Endoscopy Scheduling Center at 599.3294 to schedule your appointment.

What is a colonoscopy and why is it so important?

A colonoscopy is a procedure allowing the physician to see the lining of the colon and look for problems such as tumors, polyps, infections and inflammation. It is possible to perform biopsies or other procedures on the inside lining of the colon if an abnormality is found. A colonoscopy is an important tool in the screening of patients for colorectal cancer and precancerous polyps as well as the diagnosis and treatment on other non-cancerous conditions of the colon.

When should I have a colonoscopy and how often?

At Age 50

Most people should have their first screening colonoscopy to look for precancerous polyps at the age of 50. Screening colonoscopy should be done every 10 years unless pre-cancerous polyps are found or other conditions exist that increase your risk of developing colorectal cancer.

Relatives with Colon Cancer or a History of Polyps

If you have relatives with colon cancer or other conditions that increase your risk of developing colon cancer, screening may start earlier. Your primary care physician can help you determine when you should start screening.

Other Risk Factors to Consider

Having a screening colonoscopy and follow-up as needed is especially important if you have any of these health or lifestyle risk factors:

  • Ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease – People who have an inflamed lining of the colon have an increased risk for colorectal cancer.
  • Inherited syndromes, such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer (HNPCC)
  • Obesity
  • Physical inactivity
  • Heavy alcohol consumption
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Smoking