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Colonoscopy is an important screening test for colon cancer, which is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. The American Cancer Society recommends that people at average risk of colon cancer begin regular screenings at age 45. If you have a family history of colon cancer or other risk factors, your doctor may recommend starting screening at an earlier age. During a colonoscopy, a doctor uses a long, flexible tube with a camera on the end to examine the inside of the colon and rectum for abnormal growths or polyps, which can be removed during the procedure. It is important to talk to your doctor about when to start colon cancer screenings and whether a colonoscopy is a right test for you.

Don't be afraid of the procedure! You may be able to do a less invasive screening. But even if a colonoscopy is a right choice, it's pretty straightforward for most folks. The "prep" is the only truly intimidating part of the process. You will need to restrict your food intake, and then you will need to completely empty your digestive system with some rather thorough pharmaceutical assistance. If colonoscopy is on the menu, here are some pro tips:
  • Try to schedule your procedure as early in the day as possible. This will mean you will minimize the time you feel so darn hungry!
  • During the prep phase... Stay close to the bathroom. Many are surprised by the "urgency" involved.
  • Baby wipes. Trust me when I tell you that these are SO much better than toilet paper.
  • Reading material. Yep.
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