A colonoscopy is one of the best colorectal cancer screening tests available.

Typically, a colonoscopy test is for men and women over the age of 50, but a new study shows one in seven cancer patients is now under the age of 50.

Colonoscopies are an endoscopic examination of the large bowel and the distal part of the small bowel.  They can be used to diagnose colon cancer and are frequently used to diagnose inflammatory bowel disease.


Colon Cancer

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Colon cancer develops from growths within the wall of the intestine, such as polyps or tumors. These growths often take 5 to 10 years to develop and may not cause many symptoms. A person may not have any symptoms of colon cancer, but having a close relative with the disease increases the risk for the disease compared to the general public. Most people develop polyps after age 50, so the American College of Gastroenterology recommends screening examinations every 5 years for early detection and removal of these cancer-causing growths after that age.

Inflammatory Digestive Diseases

A colonoscopy is also used to investigate other diseases of the colon.

  • Colonoscopy may be used to find the place and cause of bleeding as well as to check areas for irritation or sores in the colon.
  • These colon problems can cause unexplained changes in bowel habits.
  • Pain, bloody diarrhea, and weight loss can be caused by inflammation of the bowel, which may be the result of Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.
  • These inflammatory digestive diseases tend to occur in young adults and, if undetected, can produce chronic symptoms and increase the risk of colon cancer.  (, 2016)

Risk Factors

Studies find that smoking, obesity, physical inactivity and a poor diet are common risk factors.  People with a family history of colon cancer and others who fit the risk factor profile, should discuss their options with their physician.

Reynolds Memorial Hospital

Patients can discuss their risk factors and symptoms with a Board Certified physician, such as Dr. Hany Tadros at Reynolds Memorial Hospital.  Call us today for more information: 304-845-3033.