8 Reasons Why You Need a Colonoscopy

Stephanie Specht's picture
By Stephanie Specht on April 10, 2018

Getting a colonoscopy might not be at the top of your to do list, but if you are 50 or over, it should be.

A colonoscopy detects and removes 98 percent of precancerous and cancerous polyps, so you can be assured that when you make that appointment you are getting the “gold standard” in colon cancer screenings.

Here are our top eight reasons why you should make that appointment today.

1. It Saves Lives

Colon cancer is nearly 100 percent preventable. The catch is that you need to detect and remove pre-cancer polyps.

2. It Is Quick and Painless

Although the thought of getting a colonoscopy might make you a little weary, the procedure is painless. The exam takes about 25 minutes and a screening is generally good for 10 years!

If you have a family history of colon cancer, your doctor may recommend getting screened at an earlier age and more often.

3. You Turned 50!

Most people should plan their first colonoscopy when they turn 50. However, African Americans should get a screening at age 45.

If it has been 10 years since your last colonoscopy, it is time to get another one on the calendar.

4. The First One Is Free

Once you hit your 50th birthday, most routine screening colonoscopies are covered with no co-insurance or co-payment under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

5. You Have a Family History

Those with a family history of colon cancer generally should get their first screening 10 years before the age their family member was diagnosed.

Talk to your doctor about what might be best for you.

6. Detect It Early

It can be scary, but the earlier colon cancer is detected the easier it is to treat.

7. You Can Have Colorectal Cancer and Not Experience Any Symptoms

Symptoms of colon cancer can include the following:

  • Blood in stool
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Changes in bowel habits
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Unexplained weight loss

However, some people won’t experience any symptoms until the cancer is in the late stages, which is why screening is so important.

8. You Have Ongoing Stomach Issues

If you are experiencing continuous stomach issues, such as pain, irregular bowel movements, constipation or blood in your stool, talk to your doctor about scheduling a colonoscopy.

If you need another reason, do it for yourself! Talk to you doctor today about making that appointment.

For more information about colonoscopies and colon cancer, please visit CarilionClinc.org/itstime.

This article was reviewed by Merritt J. Bern, M.D., of Carilion Clinic Gastroenterology