Regular colon cancer screening with colonoscopy can cut your colon cancer risk by 90%. At GastroCare LI, the experienced board-certified gastroenterologists Bradley Rieders, MD, and Brandon Rieders, MD, in Valley Stream, New York, customize your colon cancer screening for your risk factors and needs. Book your appointment online or call the office to schedule your screening today.

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What is colon cancer screening?

Colon cancer screening is routine testing to check for cancer in the longest section of your large intestine (the colon). Cancer frequently occurs within the colon. It’s the third most common type of cancer affecting Americans outside of skin cancers.

There are several ways to check for colon cancer, including blood and stool tests. But the gold standard test for colon cancer screening is colonoscopy.

What is a colonoscopy?

During a colonoscopy, your provider inserts a tube about as thick as a finger into your anus and moves it up through your colon. The colonoscope has a built-in camera that allows your provider to check for problems in your colon.

A colonoscopy can detect colon cancer in its early form. If your provider finds precancerous growths (polyps) during your colonoscopy, they can remove them using electrical heat.

How do I prepare for colon cancer screening?

Your GastroCare LI provider gives you specific instructions before your procedure. Generally, you’ll drink a large quantity of a colon-cleansing solution and follow a clear liquid diet in the days ahead of the procedure. That eliminates all stool from your colon, allowing your provider to see clearly for the most accurate results.

Your provider discusses your current medications with you before your colonoscopy. You may need to temporarily stop or delay taking medications like blood thinners or other drugs that affect blood clotting.

Ask a friend or loved one to drive you to your procedure and take you home afterward. Because you’ll receive a sedative before your colonoscopy, you can’t drive until the next day.

When should I start colon cancer screening?

Everyone needs to start colon cancer screening at age 45. You may need to begin screening before age 45 if you have a family history of colon cancer or medical history that includes intestinal problems or other cancers.

Thanks to widespread colon cancer screening, the rate of colon cancer in older adults has decreased steadily over the past several decades.

However, recent years have also shown an increase in colon cancer in younger adults (those under 50 and those aged 50-64), which is why colon cancer screening is now recommended starting at 45 rather than 50 (the previous starting age).

How often do I need colon cancer screening?

If your colonoscopy doesn’t reveal any issues, you won’t need another one for 10 years. If you have polyps, you’ll typically need another colonoscopy in 5-10 years.

To schedule your colon cancer screening, call GastroCare LI or click the online scheduling tool today.