Reasons why a Colonoscopy might be recommended
Few words can incite groans quite as easily as “colonoscopy.” In fact, many people put off or completely avoid having a colonoscopy done because of the misconceptions surrounding this painless and potentially life-saving procedure. At Atlantic Gastroenterology in Brooklyn, New York, we completely understand the trepidations that patients have and are here to listen and help alleviate your concerns and guide you through what to expect during your colonoscopy.
Why a colonoscopy might be recommended
Colorectal cancer is one of the only cancers that is nearly 100 percent preventable. How? Through routine screening colonoscopies. Most colorectal cancers begin as polyps, which are generally harmless at first but can develop into precancerous lesions and then cancer. During a colonoscopy, the gastroenterologist is able to remove polyps, which are then typically sent to a laboratory to identify whether they are benign, precancerous, or cancerous. Removal of polyps at an early stage helps prevent them from ever turning into cancer. The development of colorectal cancer can take approximately 10 years, although some people may have faster or slower-growing cancers, and early detection gives you the highest chance of recovery.
Most patients think colonoscopies are only necessary after the age of 45 to detect colon cancer. However, it is actually a useful diagnostic tool that can be used in a wide variety of circumstances to accurately identify the underlying cause of gastrointestinal symptoms you may be experiencing. Additionally, some patients may benefit from a screening colonoscopy earlier than the age of 45.
A colonoscopy might be recommended if:
- You are between the ages of 45 and 75: Guidelines now recommend that routine screening colonoscopies begin at age 45 and occur at least every 10 years thereafter.
- You have a family history of colon cancer: If someone in your family has had colon cancer, it is recommended that you get your first screening colonoscopy 10 years before the age at which your family member was diagnosed.
- You are experiencing symptoms of colorectal cancer: Symptoms such as blood in the stool, rectal bleeding, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and unexpected weight loss can all be warning signs of colorectal cancer, but they can also signal other gastrointestinal conditions. A colonoscopy is one of the most accurate ways to identify the source of your symptoms.
Schedule your appointment today
If you have been holding off on getting a routine colonoscopy or visiting a gastroenterologist about GI symptoms you have been experiencing, the team at Atlantic Gastroenterology is here to guide you through the process with compassion and understanding. To schedule your appointment, call 718 521-2840.
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