When Should a Woman Get a Colonoscopy?

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First Test at Age 50

Women should get a first colonoscopy at age 50, according to guidelines published by the American Cancer Society. The screen, which is used to detect colorectal cancer and polyps, should be repeated every 10 years with a virtual colonoscopy every five years. Doctors say that up to 60 percent of the 50,000 deaths from colon cancer each year could be prevented with adequate screening, such as a colonoscopy.

Patient History

Women with a history of certain diseases or illnesses should consider getting a colonoscopy before age 50. Conditions that may require earlier and more frequent screening include a family history of colon cancer, inflammatory bowel disease or Lynch syndrome.

Bottom Line

Most healthy women can wait until age 50 for a colonoscopy. According to Harvard Health Publications, more than 90 percent of colon cancer cases are in people age 50 or older and the chances of getting the disease increase with age.

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