When Should I Have My First Colonoscopy?


Summary: Colorectal screenings are the best method for diagnosing and preventing cancer and other GI diseases. Learn when to schedule an initial colonoscopy. Among the most effective ways of protecting your health against or detecting colorectal cancer early is having routine colon screenings. However, just over 50% of adults who are eligible have not undergone an initial colonoscopy. People who have an average risk of developing colon cancer should begin routine screenings when they turn 45, as recommended by the American Cancer Society (ACS). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), millions of people in the United States are not having their colon cancer screenings as recommended, lowering the opportunity for early identification. The expert gastroenterologists at Arizona Digestive Health routinely perform colonoscopy procedures for Phoenix, AZ patients. To determine whether you qualify for an initial colonoscopy screening, contact the team at Arizona Digestive Health and book an appointment.

What is a colonoscopy test?

A colonoscopy is a form of colon and rectal cancer examination that involves a narrow, bendable scope containing a tiny camera. It is positioned through the rectum and then into the colon by an Arizona Digestive Health GI specialist to check for polyps or other abnormal tissue that may be present. If anything out of the ordinary is found, it often can be taken off via the scope and tested for cancer. Individuals are given a safe, rapid-acting sedative prior to the screening to allow them to sleep comfortably throughout the procedure.

What is recovery like after undergoing a colonoscopy test?

Once your first colonoscopy screening is finished and you awaken from the anesthesia, our Phoenix, AZ gastrointestinal team will discuss any discoveries or the need for additional tests with you. If we do find an issue that requires further analysis, we will devise a treatment program individualized for your unique concerns. We strongly suggest that you have a friend or relative escort you home following your procedure. Once the effects of the sedative have passed, you should find yourself able to perform normal daily activities and resume your regular diet within 24 hours. In certain instances, patients experience a few mild aftereffects for a few days, such as cramping, bloating, and excess gas. If you are affected by extreme discomfort, fever, or bleeding, please seek medical care immediately.

How often should I receive a colonoscopy?

Medical experts recommend that patients who have an average risk of getting colorectal cancer start receiving colonoscopy screenings at age 45. Additional colorectal cancer evaluations should take place at ten-year intervals up through 75 years of age. Following age 75, every person should consult their GI practitioner regarding screening procedures that best suit their medical needs.

Why else should I have routine colon screenings?

In addition to detecting early colorectal cancer, colonoscopy screenings can also help doctors determine the potential reasons for other digestive issues, such as chronic bowel movement changes (loose stools and/or constipation), bleeding and anemia, hemorrhoids, reasons for abdominal/anorectal pain, and abrupt or unintentional weight loss. The highly skilled gastrointestinal specialists at Arizona Digestive Health offer the latest in advanced techniques and therapies to diagnose and treat a wide range of diseases impacting GI health.

Where can I set up my initial colonoscopy in Phoenix, AZ?

Periodic colon and rectal cancer screenings are the best option for diagnosing this GI disease. If you are over the age of 45 and have an average risk of colon or rectal cancer, we encourage you to arrange for your first colonoscopy at Arizona Digestive Health. Contact our friendly team today to book a colonoscopy consultation with one of our Phoenix, AZ gastroenterologists.