Scot M. Lewey, DO, FACG, FASGE, AGAF
Clinical Professor of Medicine
This photomicrograph is of a benign polyp that is pre-cancer type but not a cancer. It is a tubular adenoma.
Colon cancer is the third most common cancer affecting both men and women.
Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the US for both men and women.
Colon cancers start from pre-cancer colon polyps that can be detected and removed at colonoscopy. So colonoscopy is both an early detection AND preventative.
Colonoscopy has been shown to REDUCE colon cancer deaths.
If you are 50 years old (or 45 if you are African American) you should have a colonoscopy. If there is a family history of colon cancer or pre-cancer colon polyps you should be screened earlier.
Most insurance carriers and Medicare cover screening colonoscopy as a preventative test, often with no co-pay.
Once you have symptoms of colon cancer the disease is usually if not almost always incurable. Colon polyps and early colon cancer has no symptoms therefore screening colonoscopy is recommended BEFORE any symptoms when you reach age 50 or younger in certain situations and populations.
Colon cancer is preventable by screening colonoscopy.