How Often Should You Get a Colonoscopy?

You’re committed to maintaining a proactive approach to your health, a commitment that involves crucial screenings such as colonoscopies. In a world where some health issues take us by surprise, a colorectal cancer diagnosis should not be one of them, especially when routine screenings can make a significant difference. In Australia, this is the fourth most commonly diagnosed cancer, and experts estimate that one in 20 people will be diagnosed by the time they are 85. The key to avoiding this unthinkable outcome often lies in early detection and treatment, underscoring the invaluable role of a regular colonoscopy in Melbourne from a colorectal surgeon. Remember, if it makes you more at ease, you can request a female surgeon for your screening procedure.

Your First Colonoscopy: Starting at Age 45

Traditionally, the recommendation for the first colorectal cancer screening was at age 50 for individuals of average risk. However, due to a concerning rise in colorectal cancer diagnoses among younger people (under 50), specialists now advocate for the initial colonoscopy at age 45. In Melbourne, you can request a female surgeon if this makes you more comfortable.

When your colorectal surgeon refers to “average risk,” it means you don’t possess certain factors that increase your risk, such as:

  • Immediate family history of colorectal cancer or problematic polyps
  • Personal history of inflammatory bowel conditions, like Crohn’s disease
  • Presence of an inherited gene variant associated with colorectal cancer
  • Lifestyle factors, including smoking or obesity, also contribute to risk assessment

If you experience symptoms such as rectal bleeding, it’s advisable to undergo a colonoscopy in Melbourne as soon as possible to investigate the health of your rectum and/or colon.

If uncertainties about your risks persist, a consultation can help identify any red flags. For those with potentially higher risks, your colorectal surgeon may recommend an earlier initial colonoscopy than the standard age of 45.

Follow-Up Colonoscopies

The results of your first colonoscopy guide the frequency of subsequent screenings. In an ideal scenario where no polyps (growths) are found, you may not need another colonoscopy for a decade.

However, if polyps are discovered and subsequently removed for further study, the timeline shifts. If the polyps reveal no abnormal cells, you are generally clear for another 10 years.

But if suspicious cells are identified, more frequent screenings may be advised. Similarly, for individuals with inflammatory bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis, regular colonoscopies every 2-5 years may be recommended.

Beyond the age of 75, decisions about further screenings become more nuanced. Colorectal cancers tend to be slow-growing, and the risks associated with sedation or general anaesthesia for colonoscopies increase with age. In such cases, the approach by a colorectal surgeon is individual, weighing the potential benefits against the risks based on your overall health and medical history.

Empower Your Health Journey With a Colonoscopy in Melbourne from a Leading Female Surgeon

As you can see, going for your colonoscopy in Melbourne regularly plays an important role in safeguarding your well-being. By adhering to these guidelines, you not only stay ahead of potential health concerns but also contribute to the early detection and prevention of colorectal cancer.

Remember, knowledge is power when it comes to your health. Regular consultations with your colorectal surgeon can provide personalised insights and ensure that your screening schedule aligns with your individual health needs. Stay committed to your health, stay informed, and let’s work together to ensure a healthier, more resilient future. Book your colonoscopy in Melbourne today with a leading female surgeon.