How a Colonoscopy Could Save Your Life
posted: Sep. 05, 2019.
This routine screening tool could detect colorectal cancer early on.
The problem with many diseases and conditions is that they don’t start to show symptoms until they have started deeply affecting your system. Accordingly, the goal of our Greenbelt, MD, gastroenterologists, Dr. Sushil Rattan and Dr. Radman Mostaghim, is to catch any problems, including colorectal cancer, early on when they are easier to treat. The most effective way to detect colorectal cancer is to get a routine colonoscopy by the time you turn 50 years old.
What is the purpose of a colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy is the most effective screening tool that we currently have to detect early signs of colorectal cancer. While there are other screening options available, this is by far the most accurate.
A colonoscopy can also be used to determine the cause of abdominal pain, internal bleeding, or other issues that your gastroenterologist may not be able to determine through a simple physical exam or other testing alone. If we do find colon polyps or other issues during your colonoscopy, these problems can often be treated immediately so that you don’t need to undergo an additional colonoscopy or other procedures.
Why do I need to start getting colonoscopies at 50 years old?
One factor that can increase your risk for developing colorectal cancer is age, for the condition is much more prevalent in older adults over the age of 50. If you are a healthy individual who is at low risk for developing colorectal cancer then you should get your first colonoscopy around 50 years old; however, the American Cancer Society recommends that both men and women who are at a moderate risk for developing colorectal cancer should start getting screened by age 45. After this, you will continue to get routine colonoscopies every 10 years until the age of 75.
If you have a family or personal history of colorectal cancer or colon polyps then you may need to start getting screened earlier than 45. Therefore, it's important to talk with your Greenbelt, MD, GI doctor to find out when you should start getting a colonoscopy.
Do both men and women need to get a colonoscopy?
Absolutely! Colorectal cancer can happen to both men and women, and gender doesn’t seem to be a determining risk factor. As you get older, your risk for developing colorectal cancer increases, which is why you should start getting screened around 45-50 years old.
If you are about to turn 50 years old, give yourself the gift of great health. Call GI Med Health in Greenbelt, MD, today at (301) 982-7900 to schedule your first colonoscopy. We would be happy to sit down and talk to you about your health needs.