A colonoscopy is a common procedure that lets doctors examine the colon and rectum for abnormalities and changes. It’s often used as a screening tool for colon cancer which, is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States among men and women, according to the American Cancer Society. Routine testing can help prevent colon cancer or find it at an early, easily treatable stage.
Current guidelines state people should have their first colonoscopy at age 45 and one every 10 years thereafter if they have no special risk factors for colon cancer. If a relative has had colon cancer, or if you have an inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease, Lynch disease or ulcerative colitis, you may need a colonoscopy earlier or more often.