How do I know if I need a colonoscopy?

I am in my late 40s and I have not received a colonoscopy. Colon cancer does not run in my family and I haven’t had any problems with my digestion or any stomach pains. Do I need to get a colonoscopy? A friend has insisted that I get one.

Healthcare Providers (3)

Great question. The answer is that if you have no other symptoms such as diarrhea, constipation, or abdominal pain the screening guidelines set forth by the ASGE states that you should start having routine colonoscopic screening at the age of 50 unless you have relatives who had colon cancer, especially if they developed it before the age of 60. If you are an African American male; however, you should start getting screened at 45.

if you have no risk factors such as a family history, screening guidelines begin at 50.

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in the United States. The American Cancer Society endorses screening colonoscopy for prevention of colon cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends that if there are no other indications or risk factors that colon screening begin at age 50. Please speak to your primary care doctor about the need for screening. Thanks.

No Physician-Patient Relationship
You understand and agree that use of the Website does not in any way create or establish a physician-patient privilege or physician-patient relationship between you and any Medical Professional Member. You should recognize that the information provided on the Website (including past questions and answers and articles posted on the site) is provided for your general information. These materials should not be relied on as medical advice and reading and reviewing them is not a substitute for direct consultation with a medical professional about a specific medical problem.

Without limiting the foregoing, you understand and agree that submitting a Free Question or receiving an answer to a Free Question does not in any way create or establish an physician-patient relationship between you and any Medical Professional Member, or between you and us. The information and answers provided in response to Free Questions is intended to be generic medical information, not medical advice, and is based upon the very limited information provided by you in a Free Question. Specific medical advice can only be given with full knowledge of all of the facts and circumstances of your situation. If you are currently being treated by a doctor, that doctor is the best person to give you advice about a medical case or medical matter. Under no circumstances should the information obtained on this site be used to make decisions about the quality of service provided by a doctor or about the proper course of a medical matter.