The Benefits of Preventative ColonoscopyPosted: Aug 15 in Post-Bariatric Diet, Weight Loss Surgery by Staff
You’ve just turned 50, and among the other milestones of this age is the recommendation to visit a general surgeon in Ft. Myers for a colonoscopy. It doesn’t seem like much of a birthday present, right?
Wrong. A preventative colonoscopy is one of the greatest presents you can give to your body as you age. If you haven’t had one for other medical reasons by the time you turn 50, then it is time to have your digestive tract checked out to ensure smooth sailing as the years come and go.
Why age 50? Ninety percent of new colon cancer cases develop in people over 50, and 94 percent of deaths related to colon cancer are among people over 50.
The colonoscopy is considered one of the most effective cancer screening examinations available. One recent study from the German Cancer Research Center found that colonoscopy screening over the past decade is associated with a massive reduction in colorectal cancer risk—as much as 77 percent! Of adults over 50 who get colonoscopies, about 25 percent of men and 15 percent of women are found to have pre-cancerous growths called polyps. This is a high detection rate of growths that would likely go unnoticed for years without a colonoscopy.
Unfortunately, cancer isn’t the type of ailment to announce its arrival. Pre-cancerous polyps in the intestinal lining can take 10 to 15 years to develop into a tumor. Waiting until a tumor is fully developed and symptoms begin to emerge is not a good idea. Taking preventative action can make a big difference in your quality of life as you age.
Colorectal cancer is one of the most prevalent forms of cancer to affect adults in the United States, and is responsible for the third most cancer-related deaths. When detected early, there is a much greater chance of removing and treating the cancer effectively. Polyps can be removed during the colonoscopy procedure, so having one of these preventative examinations can potentially save you from having to remove a more invasive tumor years down the road.
Of course, there are some people who will be recommended to get a colonoscopy long before they turn 50. When digestive problems occur, a colonoscopy is often among the first procedures recommended. Symptoms like rectal bleeding, severe cramping, unintentional weight loss and chronic diarrhea or constipation are often investigated with a colonoscopy. For this group of people, colonoscopies might not be necessary right at 50, since you will be on a slightly different schedule based on when your last examination was.
Talk to your general surgeon in Ft. Myers to find out when you are ready for a colonoscopy.