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Guidelines for Having a Colonoscopy

Are You 50 or Over?

For the prevention of colorectal cancer, the US Preventive Services Task Forces (USPSTF) recommends having your 1st colonoscopy at age 50 and then one every 10 years until the age of 75. At 75, your doctor will determine if you need to have additional colonoscopies.

Time to have a colonoscopy

If you are 50 or over – it’s time!

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the US with men at a slightly higher risk than women. Having a colonoscopy can be the major tool in not just finding the presence of colorectal cancer but in preventing its occurrence to begin with. This should be the foremost incentive of having the test but is the aging US population actually having the recommended test at the recommended intervals?

Statistics from the Government Accountability Office found that only 25% of all Medicare beneficiaries ages 65 to 75 had undergone the screenings from 2005 to 2009. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Cancer Institute found that only 58.6 percent of men and women between the ages of 50 and 74 got screened in 2010, far short of the national goal of 70.5 percent.

There has been a steady decline in incidents of colorectal cancer over the past two decades. Awareness has definitely increased and part of this trend can be contributed to that.  Many people have opted to have a colonoscopy and decrease their chances of getting the disease. However, the incidence of contracting colorectal disease can increase if people start taking chances and choose not to get screened at suggested times.

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