RadioMD: Staying Well

Your First Colonoscopy: What You Need to Know

May 12, 20149 min
According to the Centers for Disease and Prevention, of cancers that affect both men and women, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer related deaths in the USHave you ever had a colonoscopy before? If you have, you dread them every year and if you haven't had one yet, you're holding out for as long as you can.A colonoscopy allows your doctor to take a look at the inner lining of your large intestine, rectum and colon by using a long, thin, flexible tube to examine your colon. This test helps your doctor discover any ulcers, tumors, inflammation or bleeding.The procedure sounds painful, invasive and unnecessary. Why does anyone need this? Before opting out, there are many benefits you need to be aware of.Colorectal cancer, also known as colon cancer is life threatening. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease and Prevention, of cancers that affect both men and women, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer related deaths in the US.When should you have a colonoscopy?If even colon cancer doesn't run in your family, it's still important to get a colonoscopy. For both men and women, starting at the age of 45 and a follow up every 10 years.What do you need to do to prep for a colonoscopy?Before your procedure, you need to clear out your colon, which takes one to two days. Unfortunately, you cannot skip this step, without a prep, your colonoscopy will not work. You need to drink a liquid that will loosen your stools and clean out your system.What else do you need to know before your colonoscopy?Medical Director of Digestive Disease Technology, Baylor Health Care System, Dr. Daniel DeMarco shares why it's important to have a colonoscopy, how to prep for the procedure and how often you should be having one.

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