Find out why older adults should get routine colonoscopies no matter their current health.
Just as we require routine medical checkups each year, or choose to get flu shots or take other precautionary measures to protect our health, we should also do what we can to protect our intestinal health, as well. Sure, it might not be the first thing that comes to mind, but if you are someone who is dealing with unexplained stomach or intestinal issues, or if you just turned 45 years old, our Flemington and Hillsborough, NJ, gastroenterologist, Dr. Anubha Sinha, can tell you why you should schedule a colon cancer screening.
Why is a colon cancer screening important for everyone?
The main reason a colon cancer screening is performed is for the early detection of precancerous polyps. As you can imagine, finding and removing these polyps during the precancerous stage means that they don’t have the opportunity to manifest into cancer.
When colorectal cancer is caught in its earliest stages it’s very treatable; however, the only way to be able to detect colorectal cancer early is through screenings (as symptoms of colorectal cancer don’t typically appear until the cancer has already spread).
What does a colon cancer screening entail?
The best screening tool for being able to detect colorectal cancer is a colonoscopy. Routine colonoscopies should be performed on both men and women once they turn 45 years old. A colonoscopy uses a very thin tube with a camera on the end that is inserted into the rectum and through the intestines to provide our Flemington and Hillsborough GI doctor with detailed images of the colon and rectum to look for early signs of cancer.
Before your colonoscopy, your doctor will give you a medication that will help empty out your bowels. You will not be able to eat anything prior to your procedure, as we will need to keep the colon empty. When you come in for your screening, we will run an IV and provide you with sedation and twilight anesthesia to help you feel calm, relaxed, and pain-free during the procedure. It only takes about 30 minutes to complete the screening but it may take longer if we need to remove polyps (which we can also do during the screening).
From there, we will tell you the results of your test. If everything looks healthy and you’ve never had polyps or a family history of polyps then you may not need another colonoscopy for 10 years. Of course, those who are at an increased risk for colorectal cancer or those who’ve had a personal history of polyps may need to come in more often for colon cancer screenings.
Hunterdon Digestive Health Specialists have offices in Flemington and Hillsborough, NJ, to serve you better. Call our office today if you need to schedule a routine colonoscopy with us or if you are experiencing any changes in your gastrointestinal health.