A colonoscopy is used to screen for colorectal cancer even before there are symptoms. Beginning at age 50, men and women should have a complete colonoscopy every 10 years or as indicated by your physician based on colonoscopy results.
Important: You may need to begin periodic screening colonoscopy earlier than age 50 years if you have a personal or family history of colorectal cancer, polyps or long-standing ulcerative colitis.
A colonoscopy allows your gastroenterologist to view the inner lining of your large intestine which includes both your colon and rectum to search for ulcers, polyps (precancerous growths), tumors or inflaMmation. A thin, flexible tube called a colonoscope is used to explore the large intestine. This tube has a small video camera attached, allowing your doctor to view the colon clearly and take video and pictures during the procedure.
If suspicious growths such as polyps are found, they can be removed during the colonoscopy procedure and tissue samples can be taken for further analysis.
A colonoscopy typically takes between 15 — 60 minutes.