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When Do I Need a Colonoscopy?

  • Category: Blog
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: St. John's Health
When Do I Need a Colonoscopy?

When to Get Colorectal Cancer Screenings

Colorectal cancer is a form of cancer that is commonly caused by polyps or abnormal growths that are found in the rectum or colon. Unfortunately, these abnormalities can often go unnoticed and without symptoms until the cancer itself has progressed, making it essential that you get screened regularly.

With that being said, you may find yourself wondering when you should get screened. Read on to learn more about how often you should get screened and the warning signs to look out for.

How Often Should I Get Screened?

Because about 90% of new colorectal cancer cases are found in people who are 50 and older, it is recommended that you start getting regular colonoscopies by then. This is because these screening help doctors to find these issues early on when treatment is most likely to be effective.

For otherwise healthy individuals, many doctors recommend that you get a colonoscopy at least once every 10 years after the age of 50. If you have previously had polyps or a family history of colorectal cancer, your doctor may recommend that you get screened more frequently.

Warning Signs and Symptoms

If you notice any of the following signs and symptoms, it is important that you contact your primary care doctor to help determine their cause:

  • A sudden change in bowel habits that last for more than a few days.
  • Feeling like you need to have a bowel movement, even after just having one.
  • Dark blood in your stool.
  • Bright red rectal bleeding.
  • Fatigue or tiredness.
  • Sudden and unintended weight loss.

While these symptoms don’t necessarily mean that you have colorectal cancer, they may suggest the presence of a different issue in your digestive tract and should be addressed quickly.

Colonoscopies in Jackson Hole

St. John's has an open access process that allows healthy people, age 50 and older, with an average risk for colon cancer to schedule a colonoscopy without the inconvenience of an initial office visit. Fill out the online pre-registration form and one of our nurses will contact you within two business days.