Find out why everyone should get routine colonoscopies once they reach 50 years old.
While no one wants to believe that colorectal cancer can happen to them, colorectal cancer is the third most diagnosed cancer in both men and women in the US; however, there is good news! We’ve seen a decrease in mortality rates over the last few decades and this might be due to an increase in patient education, as well as an increase in people turning to screening tests like colonoscopies for early detection.
Our Forest Hills and New York City, NY, area gastroenterologist, Dr. Azeem Khan, is here to tell you more about this procedure and why it’s performed.
What is a colonoscopy?
As you can probably imagine, it’s rather difficult to be able to know what’s going on inside the body without being able to see it for yourself. Luckily, doctors have a lot of medical tools and advanced technologies to help them safely see every organ of the body for diagnostic and treatment purposes. A colonoscopy is no different. This small flexible tube is inserted into the rectum and guided through the lower intestines to check the health of the colon and rectum.
Why is a colonoscopy performed?
A colonoscopy is a great screening, diagnostic and even treatment tool for our Forest Hills and New York City GI doctor. This in-office procedure can help us determine the cause of rectal bleeding, changes in bowel movement, unexplained weight loss or even abdominal pain.
A colonoscopy is also a common screening tool to detect early signs of colorectal cancer. In fact, it is the most effective screening tool at our disposal and it’s important that every man and woman, no matter their risk factors, receive routine colonoscopies by the time they turn 50 years old.
What are the risk factors associated with colorectal cancer?
Risk factors for colorectal cancer include:
- Age (most people diagnosed with colorectal cancer are over 50 years old)
- Being diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
- A family history of colorectal cancer or colorectal polyps
- A sedentary lifestyle
- A diet high in processed, fatty foods and low in fiber
- Tobacco usage
- Heavy alcohol use
How often should I get a routine colonoscopy?
If you just turned 50 years old, this is the right time to schedule your first colonoscopy. If results come back normal then you won’t need another colonoscopy for about 10 years, unless you are at an increased risk for developing colorectal cancer. If we find a colon polyp then you may need to have a colonoscopy every five years.
Whether you just turned 50 years old or you are dealing with gastrointestinal symptoms that are concerning to you, the expert at Forest Hills Gastroenterology in Forest Hills, NY and serving the New York City area is always here to help. Call our office today and let us know what’s going on. We would be happy to get you the next available appointment.