Colonoscopy: Screening for Men AND Women

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Colonoscopy: Screening for Men AND Women

Colonoscopy is no just a screening procedure for men–it’s for women too! Learn more about this procedure and when to start screening!

When you hear the word “colonoscopy,” you may think of it as a necessary screening procedure for aging men, but seldom do most people think of it as a procedure that is necessary for women too. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends colorectal cancer screening for men and women aged 50–75.

Colonoscopy is a test that allows your doctor to look at the inner lining of your large intestine, rectum and colon. He or she uses a thin, flexible tube called a colonoscope to look at the colon. A colonoscopy helps find ulcers, colon polyps, tumors, and areas of inflammation or bleeding. During a colonoscopy, tissue samples can be collected (biopsy) and abnormal growths can be taken out. Colonoscopy can also be used as a screening to check for cancer or precancerous growths in the colon or rectum (polyps).

To prepare your colon for this test, you will need to clean out your colon (colon prep). Colon prep takes 1 to 2 days, depending on which type  your doctor recommends. Some preps may be taken the evening before the test. The colon prep causes loose, frequent stools and diarrhea so that your colon will be empty for the test; therefore, you should plan to stay home during this time.

Colonoscopy is one of many tests that may be used to screen for colon cancer. Which screening test you choose depends on your risk, preference, and your doctor. Talk to your doctor about what puts you at risk and what test is best for you.

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