Should you get a colonoscopy?

March 31, 2016 | by Valerie Howard

Well, that depends.

While regular colorectal screening is still widely recommended  – for most people, this should begin at age 50 and continue every five to 10 years thereafter if the results are normal – in recent years, a variety of screening tests have emerged, giving patients new options to consider based on their health history, personal preferences and even their finances.

In the video below, Donald David, M.D., clinical professor and chief of City of Hope's Division of Gastroenterology, explains the pros and cons of the four most popular screening options: Colonoscopy, Cologuard, FIT testing (or fecal immunochemical test) and virtual colonoscopies.

Watch the video to learn which screening option David still considers to be the gold standard, which option has an 85 to 90 percent accuracy rate, and which option he views as a second line choice.

Of course, your risk of colorectal cancer may influence your choice of screening tests. If you have an increased risk, your doctor might recommend more frequent screening. Be sure to discuss your symptoms, medical history and preferences with your physician in determining the right screening for you. Here are a few other considerations worth addressing with your doctor, from the National Cancer Institute :  

  • Your age, medical historyfamily history and general health
  • The potential harm of the test
  • The preparation required for the test
  • Whether sedation may be needed for the test
  • The follow-up care needed after the test
  • The convenience of the test
  • The cost of the test and the availability of insurance coverage

 

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Learn more about various screening options, risk factors and prevention tips in our 31 Facts on Colorectal Cancer. Simply fill out your name and email to download the PDF.

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If you are looking for a second opinion or consultation about your treatment, request an appointment online or contact us at 800-826-HOPE. Please visit Making Your First Appointment for more information.

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