Your colon, or large intestine, is located in your abdomen. As you might imagine, it’s difficult to notice any problems in your colon until you start feeling serious pain or discomfort, which may mean that a disease like cancer has long taken a toll on the area.
The purpose of a colonoscopy is to look for any changes or abnormal growths in your colon, so it can be treated early on.
If you’re over 50, it’s time for your colonoscopy. Here are four things you need to know about this important health screening test:
1. What is a colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy is a medical procedure that allows your doctor to look inside your colon and rectum. During the colonoscopy, your doctor will examine your colon by inserting a colonoscope – a flexible, lighted tube with a tiny video camera on the tip – through your anus.
2. Why should I have it?
This test can help prevent colon cancer by allowing doctors to look for polyps or growths in the colon. These growths can turn into colon cancer if they’re not removed.
3. How often should I have it?
People with average risk for colon cancer should start having colonoscopies at age 50. After that, you should get one every 10 years. If you’ve had colon or rectal cancer, or if you have a family history of colon cancer, you should talk to your doctor about how often you should get a colonoscopy.
4. What should I expect?
Most people say that the colonoscopy is not painful, but it can be uncomfortable. You may feel pressure in your abdomen and some cramping during the colonoscopy.
5. What if I need more tests?
If your doctor finds any polyps during the colonoscopy, you may need to have them tested for colon cancer. You may also be asked to get other tests or procedures, such as a chest x-ray, blood tests and stool testing. Make sure you talk to your doctor about the results of your colonoscopy and what, if any, additional tests you may need.
A colonoscopy is an important health screening test for anyone over 50. It can help prevent colon cancer by allowing doctors to look for polyps or growths in the colon. If you have any questions or concerns about colonoscopy, be sure to talk to your doctor.