A colonoscopy is used to screen for colorectal cancer even before there are symptoms. Beginning at age 50, men and women should have a complete colonoscopy every 10 years or as indicated by your physician based on colonoscopy results.
Important: You may need to begin periodic screening colonoscopy earlier than age 50 years if you have a personal or family history of colorectal cancer, polyps or long-standing ulcerative colitis.
Colorectal cancer is highly preventable. Colonoscopy may detect polyps (small growths on the lining of the colon). Removal of these polyps (by biopsy or snare polypectomy) results in a major reduction in the likelihood of developing colorectal cancer in the future.