Why Get a Colonoscopy?
Colorectal cancer is common in the US, being the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in both men and women. The risk for developing colorectal cancer increases as you get older. Surviving the cancer depends on the stage at diagnosis, so the earlier it is discovered, the better the chance of complete cure and survival. Most colon cancers have no symptoms until it is in the late stages. Symptoms can include rectal bleeding (or anemia or low iron), abdominal pain or changes in the bowel pattern. These symptoms however are quite common and most with these symptoms don't have colon cancer at all. Most importantly, essentially every colon cancer starts in a benign growth called a polyp. Not all polyps turn cancerous, but all cancers start as polyps. It probably takes many years for a polyp to grow, and then many more for a polyp to turn cancerous. If a polyp is found and removed, it can not become a cancer.
All of these facts support why colon cancer screening is so important. Screening means that testing is performed before symptoms start. We tell people all the time, we don't want to find colon cancer in anyone, we want to prevent it in the first place. Colonoscopy is best test at detecting polyps and cancer and the only screening method that can actually prevent colon cancer. A colonoscopy allows the doctor to detect and remove polyps during the same procedure. Stool testing does not. CT and Xray colon testing does not.
If you do not get a colonoscopy, you have about a 1 in 20 chance of getting colon cancer in your lifetime. Getting a colonoscopy brings that chance much closer to zero. The doctors at Hillmont GI detect polyps in about 35-40% of patients who come here for screening colonoscopies, which is above the average of GI specialists across the nation.
Who Needs a Colonoscopy?
Until recently, most guidelines recommend an average risk person should start colorectal cancer screening at age 50. The American Cancer Society now recommends age 45. Not all insurance companies have agreed to pay for screening at 45, but more and more are. All cover screening for people 50 and over. Having a family member with colon cancer or polyps may double or triple you chance of getting colon cancer. Being African-American increases your chance of developing cancer and dying from it. Certain other diseases or cancer that your doctors are familiar with can increase that risk as well. Based on these things, and maybe others, your primary doctor or caregiver at Hillmont GI can recommend when to start, and how often to have screening colonoscopies.
For persons with an average risk of colorectal cancer, begin screening at age 45 to 50 depending upon insurance.
For African-Americans, begin screening at age 45.
For persons with family history of colorectal cancer or polyps, start screening at age 45 to 50, or 10 years younger than the age of the earliest diagnosis in your family.
Meet Our Providers
Dr. Victor Araya
Dr. Marie Bailey
Dr. Gerald Bertiger
Dr. Robert Boynton
Dr.Steven L. Nack
Dr. Benjamin W. Raile
Dr. Besma Samdani
Dr. James Taterka
Tanya Carter, MSN, CRNP
Victoria Scheibel, MHS, PA-C
Why Choose Us
Did you know we also provide treatment for Helicobacter pylori infection, gastroparesis and hepatitis C? Do you have gallstones that cause you pain? We’re here to help you.
We use state-of-the-art minimally invasive surgical skills and techniques, which include: