BY DEAN PAPPAS M.D.
The team at Colon & Rectal Surgical Specialists of New York believes in proper treatment as well as preventative care. This focus on wellness is what makes us a leading center for colorectal health on Long Island, and why so many patients place their trust in us and our expertise.
As you get older, you and your physician may discuss the need for a colonoscopy, an important test for cancer prevention. Many people take routine colonoscopies for granted, but they shouldn’t. We want to go over some reasons why you should schedule a colonoscopy in the near future.
What Is a Colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy is a type of diagnostic test that allows doctors to examine the inner lining of your rectum, particularly the colon and rectum. A colonoscopy is helpful for detecting colorectal cancer, polyps, tumors, and potential colorectal bleeding.
Why Colonoscopies Are Important
A colonoscopy is a important part of the detection and prevention of colorectal cancer. Doctors can check for cancerous and precancerous growths, and take tissue samples as needed as part of preventative and proactive care.
It’s ideal for people to undergo regular colonoscopies every 5 to 10 years starting around age 50. Early colonoscopies may be recommended if there is a family history of colon cancer or you suffer from inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. Similarly, more frequent colonoscopies (i.e., every 5 years) may be recommended if there is a heightened colorectal cancer risk.
How Common Is Colorectal Cancer?
Colorectal is the third most diagnosed cancer in both men and women, though men run a greater risk of colorectal cancer. It’s been estimated that 1 out of every 20 Americans will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer during their lifetime.
You May Have a Family History of Colorectal Cancer
Those with a family history of colorectal cancer should not skip getting a colonoscopy. It’s particularly important that you undergo regular colonoscopies when a parent or close relative was diagnosed with colorectal cancer.
If your parent experienced colorectal cancer at age 50, it’s generally recommended that you undergo a colonoscopy at age 40 (i.e., 10 years before the onset of your relative’s colorectal cancer).
Older Men Run Greater Risk of Colorectal Cancer
As we noted above, men are more likely to develop colorectal cancer than women. Because of this, men should regularly undergo colonoscopies during middle age based on the recommendations of their general physician.
Early Detection Is Always Ideal
If there is a cancerous or precancerous growth found during a colonoscopy, aggressive treatment can be initiated, which means the colorectal cancer can be eliminated. Early detection increases the chances of successful cancer treatment.
Many People Have Not Undergone a Colonoscopy But Should
Even though colorectal cancer is so common, there have been some studies that estimate roughly 30 million Americans have not undergone a colonscopy even though they would benefit from one. Be sure to schedule an exam if you’re middle aged or have a family history of colorectal cancer. This simple procedure can save your life.
Contact Colon & Rectal Surgical Specialists of New York
To learn more about topics related to colorectal healthy and gastrointestinal health, we encourage you to contact Colon & Rectal Surgical Specialists of New York. The team will work with you to ensure you receive the treatment you need for total wellness.