February 21, 2017

Colonoscopy

Why is colonoscopy done?

Colonoscopy may be done for a variety of reasons. The vast majority of colonoscopies are performed as part of screening programs for colon cancer.  When done for indication, most often it is done to investigate the cause of blood in the stool, abdominal pain, diarrhea, a change in bowel habit, or an abnormality found on colonic X-rays or a computerized axial tomography (CT) scan. Individuals with a previous history of polyps or colon cancer and certain individuals with a family history of some types of non-colonic cancers or colonic problems that may be associated with colon cancer (such as ulcerative colitis and colonic polyps) may be advised to have periodic colonoscopies because their risks are greater for polyps or colon cancer. How often should one undergo colonoscopy depends on the degree of the risk and the abnormalities found at previous colonoscopies. One widely accepted recommendation has been that even healthy people at normal risk for colon cancer should undergo colonoscopy at age 50 and every 10 years thereafter, for the purpose of removing colonic polyps before they become cancerous.

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Reviewed on 10/11/2016