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Health Tip: Colonoscopy Only Needs to be Done Every 10 Years Unless at Increased Risk for Cancer

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Colon Cancer related image Photo: Getty Images

If you’re over 50, when was the last time you had a colonoscopy? If you are having it done more often than once every 10 years, you may be screening too often. Of course if you are at an increased risk for cancer, your doctor may suggest having the test more often.

Risk factors include:
• A personal history of colorectal cancer or adenomatous polyps
• A personal history of inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease)
• A strong family history of colorectal cancer or polyps

• A known family history of a hereditary colorectal cancer syndrome such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer (HNPCC)

A study discussed in an Associated Press article published on Forbes.com showed many people are getting testing done too often. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends for those persons over the age of 75, the screening risk may outweigh any benefits afforded based on the notion that at advancing ages, it is more likely a person will die from other conditions besides cancer.

Do you have a question about colon health or cancer? Check out EmpowHER’s pages and the WomensHealth.gov website. Sign-up, post a question, share your story, connect with other women in our groups and community, and feel EmpowHERed!

The American Cancer Society: Can Colorectal Polyps and Cancer Be Found Early?
Forbes Magazine:Many Elderly Get Colon Screening Too Often

Christine Jeffries is a writer/editor for work and at heart, and lives in a home of testosterone with her husband and two sons. Christine is interested in women’s health and promoting strong women.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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