Having a colonoscopy isn’t something people get excited about, but preventing colon cancer before it starts should be.
In the United States, colon cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in both men and women, and it’s the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths. If that isn’t enough to concern you, colon cancer also shows no signs or symptoms until it has advanced.
The good news is that colon cancer is one of the most highly preventable and treatable cancers when detected in its early stages during a screening colonoscopy.
While other colon cancer screening methods are available, a colonoscopy remains the only test that can prevent the disease through early detection and removal of precancerous colon polyps. Oftentimes, when other screening tests indicate a positive or abnormal result, a colonoscopy is performed as follow-up care.
What is a colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy is a procedure performed under light sedation that allows a trained gastroenterologist to visually inspect the inner lining of the large intestine—or colon. A thin, flexible lighted instrument called a colonoscope is inserted into the rectum and guided through the colon. During a colonoscopy, the physician is actively looking for any abnormalities and is able to proactively remove any causes for concern at that time.
When should you get screened for colon cancer?
In May 2018, the American Cancer Society released new evidence-based guidelines that lowered the recommended screening age for all average-risk adults from age
50 to age 45 (regardless of gender or ethnicity). For those with a family history of the disease, or other risk factors, screening could start even earlier.
While the physicians at Atlanta Gastroenterology Associates support this new guideline, it’s important to understand that many insurance carriers have not yet adopted this recent change. Be sure to talk to your insurance provider about your unique bene ts before scheduling your colon cancer screening.
For more than 40 years, Atlanta Gastroenterology Associates has been dedicated to providing accessible, affordable, and compassionate digestive healthcare services to communities throughout greater Atlanta. To make an appointment at a location near you, call 1.866.GO.TO.AGA [468.6242] or visit AtlantaGastro.com.