What is a colonoscopy?

A colonoscopy is an examination of the lining of the large intestines from the anus to the cecum (where the small bowel ends) using a flexible endoscope. A colonoscopy procedure is the most important tool for colon cancer diagnosis and prevention. This procedure is currently recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, American Cancer Society and the American College of Gastroenterology, for early colon cancer prevention.

During the procedure, tissue sample(s) may be taken and polyps may be removed without surgical interventions.

Who should consider a colonoscopy?

If you have no family history of colorectal cancer or colon polyps, you should schedule your first colonoscopy at either age 50 (non-African Americans), or age 45 (for African Americans). If you do have a family history of CRC or polyps and are not sure when to start screening, contact your primary care provider or REX Digestive Healthcare to help determine the appropriate age for your initial colonoscopy. Most insurance companies cover screening colonoscopy.

How to prepare for a colonoscopy

  • Take all of the laxative preparation the physician orders for you
  • Arrive two hours prior to your scheduled appointment time.
  • Do not eat or drink anything after midnight.
  • Check with your physician to see if you need to stop any medications for this test, including over-the-counter medications.

Learn more about colonoscopy and endoscopy preparations.

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