It is very important to know how often should you have a colonoscopy, especially when you are at a high risk of getting colon cancer. Just read the article to get detailed information about this topic.
The large intestine plays a very important role in the digestive system of our body. The digestion of food starts in the stomach and most of the nutrition and minerals are absorbed by the stomach and small intestine. The remaining material reaches the large intestine where water and salts are absorbed. This makes fecal matter more compact and is then eliminated from the body in the form of stool. The large intestine can be divided into two parts colon and rectum. Colon is the major part of the large intestine and is susceptible to develop polyps and infections. To get this diagnosed these possibilities diagnosed, colonoscopy is the best test to be performed. Even if you are healthy and have never come across any problems related to large intestine, you need to known how often should you have a colonoscopy. It is very helpful in detecting colon cancer and polyps in their very initial stages. This will help you to avoid complicated situations. So let’s find out the time and age to get this test done.
What is a colonoscopy? Colonoscopy is a diagnostic procedure which is used to evaluate the inner conditions of the large intestine. It is done with the help of a long flexible tube which has a camera and a source of light at its end. This tube is inserted from the anus from which it advances to the rectum and to the colon. The tube also releases carbon dioxide which expand the colon and helps in taking proper pictures and smooth movements of the tube. The procedure is very helpful in detecting ulcers, inflammation, polyps and cancer tumors. In some people, the screening is done after observing some symptoms which indicate towards the problems related to colon. It can also be done at the time of a routine check up and in case, the person has a family history of colon cancer.
How Often Should One Have a Colonoscopy?
Colonoscopy is usually conducted when the patient experiences rectal bleeding, changes in bowel movement, abdominal pain, diarrhea and blood in stool. But if the person is perfectly alright and does not show any of the symptoms and neither in his past has he experienced any such problems, then the doctors recommend the patient to have colonoscopy at the age of 50. This comes under the routine check up. If there is no problem found with the colon then the test will be conducted once every 10 years. But the people who are at a higher risk of developing colon cancer need to get this test more often.
People at a High Risk
People who have a polyp in the past and those who have family history of problems related to colon are at a high risk of developing colon cancer. The recommendation of colonoscopy is done according to the medical history of person. The following table will help you to understand the need to colonoscopy according to the condition of the person.
|Condition of the Person||Recommended Colonoscopy|
|One to two small polyps in the past||In every 5 to 10 years|
|3 to 10 polyps or one big polyp removed in the past||3 years after their removal|
|More than 10 small polyps removed at once||Within 3 years|
|1 large polyp removed in pieces||Within two to six months|
|Underwent surgery to remove colon cancer||3 months to 1 year|
|With a family history of colon cancer||First at the age of 40 and then in every 5 years|
If the doctor observes polyps in the screening then according to the condition of the colon and the surgical procedure the doctor may recommend different time intervals for getting colonoscopy done.
People at a Great Risk
Some people are at a great risk of developing colon cancer and hence, need a regular check up and guidance from a specialist. These are the people who have a family history of some hereditary diseases such as Hereditary Nonpolyposis Colon Cancer (HNPCC), Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (FAP), Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis which may result in colon cancer. Such people need to have colonoscopy procedure in every one or two years and the screening, in some cases, starts at the age of 20 to 22 years.
From the above information we can say that the colonoscopy totally depends upon the family history, symptoms and the condition of the person. Colonoscopy procedure is widely used and is a trusted screening procedure to detect colon cancer. Consult your doctor for any further guidance related to colonoscopy. If you come under any of the categories and conditions given above then get your colonoscopy done to avoid further complications.