This is a tough conversation for many men to have. The dreaded colonoscopy. We’re writing this as a part of our Movember blog series encouraging men’s health. We hope this gives you some important information on why you should get a colonoscopy at the right time, and what you should expect.
About 1 in 23 men will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer (CRC) in their lifetime. That is 4.3% of men! Women also have about a 4% chance of having CRC in their lifetime. These are very large percentages. This is one reason there is such a large push for people to get colonoscopies. CRC is also very preventable with proper treatment. If you get a colonoscopy and they find a polyp (a potentially cancerous growth on the colon), then they simply remove it. If you catch these things early they will not cause serious problems. Things get dire when we wait too long and they have time to develop and grow into a serious form of cancer. Colonoscopies are also considered “preventative medicine”. This makes them much cheaper, and free in many cases, to have. Medicare and many private insurers will not require a co-pay for a colonoscopy, so there isn’t a huge financial blow to get it done. Check with your doctor and insurance to see what it would look like for you. Even if it does cost money, it is worth it!
The typical recommendation for colonoscopy is to get your first one sometime around 50. After your initial colonoscopy the wait time before your next one will vary between 10 years or 1 year, depending on how the exam went. CRC grows slowly, so if they don’t really find anything, they are fine waiting 10 years to take another look. If they remove polyps, then they’ll want to go back in sooner.
HOW IT WORKS?
We recommend talking to your doctor for more details, but here is the simple version. You’ll sign up and get your exam date. The night before you will take some laxatives and spend some time on the toilet clearing out the system. You’ll fast the day of your exam and go in. They’ll put you under anesthesia and do the procedure. You’ll leave the same day and get your results. We really hope this has helped you get some more information on colonoscopies and why you should go get one if you’re close to the 50+ age. For the younger guys, keep this on your radar and make sure to be diligent when the time comes.