Five Things to Know About Colonoscopies

Monday, February 28, 2022
Beth Schmeling, RN
Beth Schmeling, RN

1. Colonoscopies are recommended at the age of 45.

According to The American Cancer Society, 1 in 24 people will develop colon cancer. However, with on-time screening, it is preventable, treatable, and beatable!    Gold standard routine screening is a colonoscopy.   The American Cancer Society recommends colon cancer screenings to start at age 45. If there is a family history of colon cancer in a parent, sibling, or child, the recommended screening age is 10 years before youngest age of diagnosis if under 45.

2. Colonoscopies screen for colon cancer and irregularities.

Routine screening is painless and can be done in about 30 minutes while you sleep. You can return to work or normal activities the following day.  During a colonoscopy, the doctor will look at the entire colon to see if there are any irregularities or polyps.  If polyps are found, they are removed at that time and sent to pathology.  The type of polyp removed will decide what interval of follow up you will have;  1 year, 3 year, 5 year or 10 year.  If there is a family history of colon cancer, it is recommended that you receive a colonoscopy every 5 years.

3. Bowel preparation is completed the day before the colonoscopy.

There are multiple bowel preps that can be done to clean out the colon and is chosen based on bowel habits and physician/patient preference.   The prep is completed the day before the procedure and the patient will be on a clear liquid diet until after the procedure.  Immediately after the procedure, you can return to your regular diet.

4. Prairie Lakes Healthcare System offers direct access colonoscopies.

Prairie Lakes Healthcare System offers direct access colonoscopies with Dr. Gerrish and Dr. Schaeffer.  This means we can sometimes skip the pre-procedure office visit and get you set up with a quick 10 minute phone call with one of the nurses.  You do not need a referral to be seen! 

5. Routine screening colonoscopies are often covered under insurance screening benefits.

Every insurance company has different guidelines they go by for screening age requirements and follow ups as well as how they are covered. Be sure to check with your insurance company on their colonoscopy guidelines and coverages. To schedule your routine colonoscopy or to see if you qualify for a direct access colonoscopy, please call the General Surgery Clinic at 882-6852.

Written by Beth Schmeling, RN
Last modified on Monday, March 07, 2022