Originally Posted by mjones12
FYI: Not all doctors agree that everyone over 50 should have it. My doctor says that there are risks involved, just as there are with anything, and he does not recommend it unless family history indicates a need for the test, or if there are certain other factors. But he doesn't recommend it as routine for anyone over 50. I mention this so that people can talk with their own doctors and make their own decisions on what they want to do.
Colonoscopy is one of only two tests that can view the entire colon for problems. Some doctors are prescribing the CT scan, using radioactive fluid, which is said to detect cancer better than colonoscopy.
There are other tests that can screen for this cancer that can be done in this order:
1. yearly fecal occult blood test (FOBT)*
2. flexible sigmoidoscopy every 5 years
3. yearly FOBT* plus flexible sigmoidoscopy every 5 years**
4. double-contrast barium enema every 5 years
5. colonoscopy every 10 years
However, most doctors, and the NIT recommend that a person start with the colonoscopy at age 50, then screen with some of the others in the intervening 10 years before the next colonoscopy. This is provided that polyps are not found upon the first test, in which event another colonoscopy should be done three years later.
My wife just had her colonoscopy done as she turned 50 and our doctor said that he couldn't imagine a doctor not recommending the test be done unless there was some other health reason that would preclude doing it. Otherwise, he said a healthy person would be unwise not to have the screening done at age 50, followed by other screening during the 10 years between another colonoscopy.
As you may know, colon cancer is the number two cause of cancer deaths in this country and is one of the most preventable and treatable if discovered early.