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Healthy Balance

Colonoscopy FAQs

Why get a colonoscopy? Gastroenterologist Cynthia Yoshida, MD, gets asked this question all the time, “even at cocktail parties.”

And her answer: The vast majority of colon cancers start as small benign growths, or polyps, that doctors see when they do colonoscopies. They can then remove the polyp before it becomes cancerous.

Most people should begin getting colonoscopies at age 50. There are a couple of exceptions:

  • African-Americans should begin at age 45.
  • If your parent or sibling had colon cancer, begin your screenings 10 years before the age their age of diagnosis.

If you have no family history and the doctor doesn’t find any polyps, you won’t need another colonoscopy for 10 years.

Also, the rumors are true: Prepping for a colonoscopy really is worse than the procedure.

Learn more about the prep and how you’ll feel afterward in this week’s podcast.

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