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Preventing colon cancer and maintaining bowel health

A colonoscopy is a procedure that enables a specialty-trained provider (usually a gastroenterologist) to evaluate the inside of the colon (large intestine or large bowel).

Why get a colonoscopy?
If you’re reluctant to get a colonoscopy, that’s completely normal. Maybe the exam itself sounds uncomfortable, or you’ve heard stories about the bowel prep process. Whatever may be holding you back, don’t let it keep you from getting an exam that could save your life.

Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. However, it’s also a slow-growing cancer. That means when it’s found in the early stages, it’s very treatable. While there are alternatives to colonoscopy, one of the best ways to screen for colorectal cancer in people without symptoms is through a colonoscopy.

A colonoscopy can also be used to investigate the cause of blood in the stool, abdominal pain, diarrhea, changes in bowel habits, changes in stools, or an abnormality found during imaging.

When to get a colonoscopy?
The American Cancer Society recommends people receive their first colonoscopy for screening at age 45. After this, screenings should be performed once every ten years depending on your medical history and risk factors.

For select high-risk individuals, colon cancer screening should begin even sooner than age 45. This includes individuals with a family history of colon cancer and those who have been diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease. To ask about your risk level, talk to your primary care provider.

Learn more about the process

This service does not require a referral. To see if your insurance company requires one, call the number on your card.

To establish care with a St. Luke's primary care provider, call 218.249.4000 or find a clinic near you.