Do I Need a Colonoscopy?

When it comes to receiving colonoscopies, there are several basic guidelines that every patient should know. These are general policies, and while certain individuals may be exceptions, these will apply to the average patient. If after reading these you have any uncertainties regarding whether you may need a colonoscopy, it is important to talk to your doctor to find out more.

The first and most basic guideline is that patients should receive a colonoscopy at age 50. It has been discovered that this is the median age at which patients are susceptible to colon cancer, so it is important to get a colonoscopy at this milestone.

Additionally, if risk factors for colorectal cancer are present, a colonoscopy may be required. Such risk factors include the following:

Personal history of colorectal cancer.

While this may sound obvious, it is a legitimate risk factor in patients. Even if previous colorectal cancer has been completely removed, it is wise to periodically receive colonoscopies to ensure the disease does not return.

Family history of colorectal cancer.

Statistically, 1 in 5 patients who contract colorectal cancer have family members who are affected by the same condition. While this is not an overwhelming majority, it is still a factor to consider.

Inherited syndromes

Certain inherited syndromes can contribute to colorectal cancer. These include familial adenomatous polyposis, hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer, Turcot syndrome, Peutz-Jeghers syndrome and MUTYH-associated polyposis.

ulcerative colitis & Crohn's Disease Patients with ulcerative colitis or Crohn's Disease are at higher risk of colorectal cancer than those without these conditions. Physical inactivity

Physical inactivity can increase the risk of colorectal cancer.


It has been demonstrated that obesity can increase the likelihood of colorectal cancer in patients.

Long-term smoking

Long-term smokers have shown an increased risk of colorectal cancer compared to those who do not smoke.

Heavy alcohol use

Heavy use of alcohol may also contribute to the incidence of colorectal cancer.

Other Symptoms that Merit Examination by Colonoscopy

Beyond the realm of colorectal cancer, there are other symptoms that may call for a colonoscopy. If you notice any of the following, call your doctor:

  • Bloody stool
  • Unexplained pain or cramps in the stomach
  • Altered bowel routines and attributes
  • Constipation or diarrhea that is unrelated to diet
  • Unexplained weight loss

While the above are average statistics with regard the importance of colonoscopies, you can always consult with us to gain more knowledge. Feel free to give our office a call and learn more about how the Colorectal Center Los Angeles can help you.

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