Colonoscopy is an essential procedure that detects pre-cancerous polyps in the rectum and large intestine (colon). Our surgeons can remove these growths well before they become cancerous or lead to symptoms when identified early. Screening with a colonoscopy is critical in diagnosing colorectal cancer and polyps when they’re small and easier to treat. Our colorectal specialists in Atlanta can determine the best age for your first colonoscopy screening.
The average person needs to have a colonoscopy around the time they turn 45 for a baseline colon cancer screening. The experts recommend having a colonoscopy every 10 years until the age of 75 as long as you remain in good health. However, 45 may not be the best age for everyone to have the simple procedure. Depending on your family history and other factors, you may need a colonoscopy earlier in life.
Risk Factors for Colon Cancer
The most significant risk factor for colorectal cancer and colon polyps is first-degree relatives with the disease. Someone with a sibling or parent with abnormal colonoscopies or colon cancer needs to have their colonoscopy sooner than the average person. Ideally, screenings should start 10 years before the youngest case of colorectal cancer or colon polyps in the immediate family. For example, if your mother was diagnosed with colon cancer at 40, you should be screened at 30 for baseline.
Certain conditions increase the risk of colon cancer and polyps, such as Lynch syndrome (hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer), Crohn’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease and familial adenomatous polyposis. Radiation in the pelvic area or abdomen for cancer treatment warrants an early colonoscopy.
Colonoscopies are critical to colorectal health. Colon cancer is one of the most common types of cancer, but a proactive effort in health care and a colonoscopy at the appropriate age for your circumstances can help catch these problems early. The procedure involves a flexible scope that takes detailed photographs of the colon and sends the images to a screen for the surgeon to see. It’s a straightforward procedure that offers comprehensive testing for colorectal health. Colonoscopies allow for early diagnosis and treatment when the cancer is easiest to eliminate.
If it’s time for your colonoscopy screening for polyps and colon cancer, contact Piedmont Colorectal Associates to schedule your appointment in Atlanta by calling (404) 351-7900 or book your appointment online.