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Why a Colonoscopy Is Such an Important Screening

Why a Colonoscopy Is Such an Important Screening

It’s not often that we can truly call something a life-saving act, but getting a colonoscopy sure can be. Colorectal cancers will be diagnosed in more than 150,000 men and women in the United States this year; unfortunately, slightly more than 53,000 Americans will lose their lives to these cancers during the same timeframe.

However, these rates are lower than they were a few decades ago, and that’s largely thanks to the colonoscopy.

If you’re wondering how critical it is that you undergo a colonoscopy, our team at Rockwall Surgical Specialists, wants to draw your attention to some important information about this potentially lifesaving screening tool.

Staying one step ahead of colorectal cancers

If there’s one thing that we want you to understand about many cancers, it’s that early detection can make all the difference. Not only does a colonoscopy check this important box, but it goes a step further — we can detect and remedy precancerous conditions at the same time.

During your colonoscopy, we use a small camera to examine the interior walls of your colon, rectum, and anus for suspicious growths that we call polyps. The presence of polyps doesn’t mean you have a colorectal cancer, but these growths can become cancerous over time.

Our goal during your colonoscopy is twofold: to spot potentially problematic growths and to remove them. After we remove the growths, we check them under a microscope later to look for any abnormal, precancerous, or cancerous cells.

How often you should get a colonoscopy

When it comes to a good schedule for this important screening, we suggest that you get your first colonoscopy at the age of 45, if you’re of average risk.

If your results come back clear of cancer, you can likely wait 10 years until your next colonoscopy. And you should continue these regular screenings until age 75. At this point, we can assess your risks to determine whether we should continue screening. In most cases, we don’t recommend a colonoscopy after age 85.

If your results aren’t clear, we determine next steps based on what we find. For example, if we find a certain type of polyp, we might suggest that you see us more often for a colonoscopy — perhaps every three years instead of every 10.

Are you at risk for colorectal cancers?

The above recommendations are for people with no pre-existing risk factors for colorectal cancers. The most common risk factors for colorectal cancers include:

There are also lifestyle habits that can increase your risks for colorectal cancers, such as smoking and obesity.

In these cases, we might recommend screening earlier and more often, but we make these determinations on a case-by-case basis.

Colonoscopies save lives. If you’d like to figure out what colonoscopy schedule is best for your history and circumstances, contact us at one of our Texas locations — in Rockwall, Rowlett, Greenville, Terrell, or Forney — to schedule a consultation.

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