Preventing Colon Cancer – Don’t Be the One - PIH Health

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Published on March 02, 2017

Preventing Colon Cancer – Don’t Be the One

1 in 20 people will get colon cancer

1 in 20 people will get colon cancerOne in 20 people will get colon cancer in their lifetime. In fact, colon cancer is the 2nd most common cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. But colon cancer can be prevented by regular colonoscopy exams, a visual examination of the colon and rectum by a physician. There are many tests that can detect colon cancer, but only colonoscopy enables physicians to identify pre-cancerous growths and remove them before they develop into cancer.

Who should have a colonoscopy?

All men and women over the age of 50. If there is a family history of colon polyps or colon cancer, screening should start at age 40, or 10 years younger than the age of the family member when diagnosed. African-Americans should start screenings at age 45.

How is a colonoscopy done?

Generally, the physician will ask you to stay on a clear liquid diet for 24 hours prior to the colonoscopy. A laxative drink will be prescribed, usually to be taken the evening before and the morning of the scheduled procedure. Sedative medications are given, and most patients sleep through the entire procedure. The visual examination of the colon and rectum takes approximately 20-30 minutes. Patient's generally awaken within a few minutes after the procedure and feel alert and ready to eat within 20-30 minutes.

Are there other options for colon cancer screening tests?

“There are many types of screening exams, such as FIT Testing, Cologuard, ColoVantage, and sigmiodoscopy, but colonoscopy is the only test that can prevent colon cancer as well as detect it in its early stages when cure rates are about 95 percent,” says PIH Health Gastroenterologist Neal M. Shindel MD. “Colonoscopy is the gold standard.”

To schedule a colonoscopy or for more information, call 562.967.2656 or visit

The information in Healthy Living Online is for educational purposes only.  It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.  The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation, or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.

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