Colon Cancer Risk
Colon cancer is the second most likely cause for cancer death in nonsmoking Americans. About 65,000 Americans will die each year from colon cancer, most preventable by colonoscopy screening.
Most colon cancers develop from growths called polyps, which originate in the lining of the colon. Colon polyp growth increases with age; most colon cancers occur after age 50. Patients with other diseases of the digestive tract like ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease have an increased colon cancer risk.
Colon polyps and colon cancer have a strong genetic or family history relationship. There is a 5-6% lifetime risk for Americans to develop colon cancer; the risk increases to 18% if you have a first degree relative (parent, brother, sister or child) with either polyps or colon cancer.
Colonoscopy allows the detection and removal of colon polyps before they develop into colon cancer. Colonoscopy can prevent colon cancer in about 70% of patients. With propofol anesthesia, colonoscopy is now a painless procedure.
Colonoscopy is recommended for all Americans beginning at age 50. Earlier exams are recommended if you have a family history of colon polyps or colon cancer; usually at age 40. Insurance usually covers the costs for screening colonoscopy. Medicare covers screening colonoscopy.
Once you have been diagnosed with colon polyps, the time between colonoscopy examinations is shortened. Routine colonoscopy in average risk patients is done every 10 years; if you are at higher risk for cancer the interval is shorter (usually 3-5 years).
Since colonoscopy was invented in 1975, the death rate from colon cancer has decreased in the United States. Research has shown that colonoscopy performed by a board-certified Gastroenterologist provides the best examination of the colon with the lowest complications.
American Gastroenterological Association: Questions to Ask About a High-Quality Colonoscopy
Colonoscopy costs are typically much lower when performed in an outpatient Endoscopy Center compared to other surgical centers or hospital settings. While some patient circumstances require a hospital setting, we are able to schedule most patients’ colonoscopy procedure in our state-of-the-art facility.