I’m A 50 Year Old Woman – Why Do I Need A Colonoscopy?

Smiling senior woman with hair bun, and hand on shoulder. Women should schedule a colonoscopy, age 50 and older.Many women think colon cancer is a men’s health issue and don’t see the need for colon screening procedures like colonoscopies.

The truth is colon cancer doesn’t play favorites and can occur in both women and men. According to the CDC, colon cancer is the third leading cause of cancer among women behind breast and lung cancer.

Colonoscopies for Women over the Age of 50

If you are a woman age 50 or older, take the time to schedule a colonoscopy.  This life-saving test can detect benign polyps that may be removed during the procedure – before they have a chance to turn into cancer.

How Often?

A colonoscopy is one of several screening tests available. Whether or not you need regular screenings will depend on your personal history and risk factors.

Those with only average risk for colorectal cancer (over 50, no known family history or medical conditions, i.e. an inflammatory bowel syndrome like Crohn’s disease), you should schedule a colonoscopy every 10 years.

The screening recommendations change when you or someone in your family has had polyps or colorectal cancer before or you have Lynch syndrome (hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer) or familial adenomatous polyposis. In these situations, you should go in for screening before age 50, and more often than once a decade.

The American Cancer Society also says people are at higher risk who have previously received radiation in their abdomen or pelvis to treat a cancer.

Depending on which guidelines you follow, you may go in for routine screenings until you are 76. Screenings are available for individuals between the ages of 76 and 85 (the maximum recommended age for screenings). This option depends on an individual’s personal risk factors and health history.

Benefits of early detection

Although many people are reluctant to schedule colorectal cancer screening tests, detecting the risk of cancer early is the best case scenario.

Most precancerous polyps are a specific type called adenomatous polyps, and the medical community believes that they take ten years to develop into cancer. Removing them before they have a chance to develop is optimal, but polyps are also most treatable when found early.

Why a colonoscopy?

If a colonoscopy is one of several screening options, you may be wondering whether it matters which type you get.

Simply put, colonoscopy finds the most polyps and cancers compared to the other options. Additionally, doctors can remove  or biopsy them during the procedure.

Should you choose a different screening tool, such as a stool-based or visual (structural) exam, you will need a colonoscopy if they yield any abnormal results. If that’s a concern for you, depending on your circumstances and health insurance coverage, you may want to skip these options and simply get a colonoscopy.

Here’s an informative video with some more information:

Don’t wait for symptoms to show up

The fact is, colon cancer doesn’t usually have symptoms in the early stages. That means your best bet for early detection and treatment is following the screening guidelines.

However, if you are seeing any unusual symptoms, make an appointment with your physician.

Common colorectal cancer symptoms

  • Bloody stool or rectal bleeding
  • An ongoing change in bowel habits (diarrhea, constipation, change in stool consistency)
  • Abdominal pain or cramping
  • Gas or persistent abdominal discomfort
  • You feel like your bowels aren’t voiding completely
  • Weakness, fatigue, or unexplained weight loss

Don’t wait. Talk to your doctor or contact Colon & Rectal Specialists for an appointment. Give yourself peace of mind so you can make the most out of your senior years, enjoying friends, family, and the things you love to do.

Have Questions About Maintaining a Healthy Colon?

According to Harvard Medical School’s Harvard Women’s Health Watch, the risk of colon cancer gets higher with age. In fact, they cite a figure that over 90% of cases are in people over the age of 50.

Around 140,000 Americans were diagnosed with colon cancer in 2018, with nearly 50,000 deaths as a result. Harvard Women’s Health Watch says that experts believe that 60% of those deaths might have been preventable, had the individuals received adequate screening.

It’s normal to have questions about colonoscopy screenings, colon cancer risks, and other colon health-related topics. Don’t let those questions and concerns prevent you from scheduling an appointment. CRS specialists are prepared to answer and address them, because they are dedicated to getting you the health care you deserve so that you can live a long, full life.

CRS offers Kinder Colonoscopy, a suite of colonoscopy prep and recovery aids developed with your comfort in mind. Benefits of scheduling your colonoscopy with CRS include:

  • Faster appointments–often within a week
  • Opportunity to talk to your doctor beforehand, rather than meeting them the day of your procedure
  • Potentially less fasting time pre-colonoscopy
  • Fast-acting sedation to reduce post-procedure grogginess or feeling sick
  • 90% of procedures conducted on-site in our private, accredited endoscopy suites for your convenience
  • Results in 10 days or less

Find out more about our services by contacting Colon & Rectal Specialists in Richmond, VA today. Our dedicated staff are prepared to address any questions or concerns you might have before you schedule your appointment.

Get More Information About Colonoscopy Services

Dr. Vorenberg and Dr. Gentry Podcast with HCB2 Founder Mindy Conklin

Dr. Andrew J. Vorenberg and Dr. Cary L. Gentry recently joined the HCB2 Fight Right podcast.

In the 30-minute conversation, they discussed what colorectal (colon and rectal) cancer screening is, and explained the various screening options available.

They also answer common questions including:

  • If you have a family history of polyps, should screening begin earlier?
  • Has the age for routine screening been lowered to age 45?
  • What type of patient is eligible for a noninvasive, in-home screening option?

You can listen to the full podcast below or head over to the HCB2 website to listen to this podcast and many others on important topics to keep you informed and healthy.

American Cancer Society Updates Colorectal Screening Guidelines

colonoscopy richmond vaThe American Cancer Society recently announced new colorectal cancer screening guidelines.

One of the most notable change is lowering the age most people should  begin screenings to 45 and even earlier for those with an above average or high risk of developing colon cancer.

Click the link to read the full list of colon cancer screening guidelines.

If it is time to schedule your first colonoscopy, or a follow up get in touch to schedule your appointment online with the providers at Colon & Rectal specialists.

Dispelling the Myths of Colon Cancer

The good news is that caught early, colon cancer survival rates are as high as 92%. The bad news is those desirable statistics may only apply to those who catch their cancer while it’s still in the first-stage.

When colon cancer is caught too late, the story can become all-too-common: Someone who patient did, indeed, have symptoms that raised a red flag, but he or she didn’t think they would have cancer because….

Read more

What Is Split Dosing Bowel Prep?

You may have heard us talk about the Colon and Rectal Specialist Kinder Colonoscopy which includes more tolerable colon prep including Split Dosing.

But what is Split Dosing and how does it benefit patients and help make the colonoscopy experience more comfortable?

To get accurate colonoscopy results, the colon must be empty as residue in the colon can make it harder for the doctor to view your colon during the exam – meaning a polyp or other issue might not be identified.

colon doctor stony point
Is there a better colonoscopy prep?

In order to clear the colon, patients are given medications with a laxative effect.  Traditionally preparing for a colonoscopy meant completing prep the night before the procedure.  This usually required drinking large amounts of the solution which most people found to be uncomfortable at best.

A Split Dose prep involves drinking half of the prep solution the evening before the colonoscopy screening and the remainder the next morning.

Patients find this method easier to manage and more comfortable, and research is also showing this method may produce better results.

If you’ve been putting off a colonoscopy because you’re afraid of the prep process, contact CRS to learn more about Split Dose or pill prep options – all part of our Kinder Colonoscopy.

Colon Cancer At 22, A CRS Patient’s Story

In 2016 the American Cancer Society estimates there will be over 95,270 new colon cancer cases. The number of cases has continued to rise, making colorectal cancer the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, estimating 49,190 deaths in 2016.
Lauren is a Colon Cancer survivors.  She was diagnosed at the age of 22 by Dr. Cary Gentry who performed surgery at Retreat Doctors’ Hospital.  Today Lauren is cancer free, healthy and  sharing her story with others.   Read more