Although men are more likely to get colon cancer, it’s important for everyone to get screened, especially after the age of 50.
Getting prepared for a colonoscopy may be difficult, however.
“The hardest part most people is clearing out their intestines,” said Dr. Michael Wallace, gastroenterologist from the Mayo Clinic.
Wallace says the focus should be on the protection this procedure can offer.
“About 1 in 20 individuals in the United States will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer,” he said. “We just need to make sure that everybody is coming in to get screened for it.”
Wallace says everyone should be screened starting at the age of 50 – earlier if there’s a family history of the disease.
“A colonoscopy is literally examination of the colon,” he stated.
While you’re sedated, a doctor uses a colonoscope to check for polyps.
“And when we find a polyp, which is a precursor to cancer, we can go in and remove that polyp before it ever becomes malignant,” said Wallace.
That makes a colonoscopy more than an early detection tool.
“It’s actually prevention,” declared Wallace.