Having a colonoscopy isn’t something people get excited about, but preventing colon cancer before it starts should be. Ranked as the second leading cause of cancer death in the U.S., colon cancer is one of the most highly treatable and preventable cancers when detected in its early stages with a colonoscopy. Atlanta Gastroenterology Associates (AGA) physicians perform this procedure regularly at AGA-affiliated outpatient endoscopy centers and area hospitals.
Because early detection and removal of polyps during a colonoscopy can actually prevent the disease, screening colonoscopies are recommended for everyone beginning at age 50 and younger for those with a family history or other risk factors. While there is evidence that more people are getting screened than in previous years, one in three adults ages 50 or older are not getting this life-saving test.
If it’s time for your screening colonoscopy and you’re in good health, you may be able to schedule your procedure directly without a pre-procedure visit. When you make your appointment, ask about our Direct Access Program.
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FAQ: COMMON QUESTIONS ABOUT COLONOSCOPY SCREENINGS
What is a colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy is considered the single best method for detecting colon cancer in its early stages. A colonoscopy is a procedure performed under light sedation that allows a trained gastroenterologist to look at the inner lining of your large intestine or colon by using a thin, flexible, lighted instrument called a colonoscope.
How long does the procedure take?
The entire process from check-in to check-out typically takes about two hours. A colonoscopy itself usually takes about 25 to 30 minutes. You should plan to rest for several hours after the procedure.
When should you get screened?
Screening colonoscopies are recommended for every adult beginning at age 50 and at age 45 if you are African-American.* For those with a family history of the disease, or other risk factors, screening could start even earlier.
*American Cancer Society