When Should I Have My First Colonoscopy?

When Should I Have My First Colonoscopy?

Summary: Colorectal screenings are the best method for diagnosing and preventing cancer and other GI diseases. Learn when to schedule an initial colonoscopy.


Among the most effective ways of protecting your health against or detecting colorectal cancer early is having routine colon screenings. However, just over 50% of adults who are eligible have not undergone an initial colonoscopy. People who have an average risk of developing colon cancer should begin routine screenings when they turn 45, as recommended by the American Cancer Society (ACS).

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), millions of people in the United States are not having their colon cancer screenings as recommended, lowering the opportunity for early identification. The expert gastroenterologists at Arizona Digestive Health routinely perform colonoscopy procedures for Phoenix, AZ patients. To determine whether you qualify for an initial colonoscopy screening, contact the team at Arizona Digestive Health and book an appointment.

What is a colonoscopy test?

A colonoscopy is a form of colon and rectal cancer examination that involves a narrow, bendable scope containing a tiny camera. It is positioned through the rectum and then into the colon by an Arizona Digestive Health GI specialist to check for polyps or other abnormal tissue that may be present. If anything out of the ordinary is found, it often can be taken off via the scope and tested for cancer. Individuals are given a safe, rapid-acting sedative prior to the screening to allow them to sleep comfortably throughout the procedure.

What is recovery like after undergoing a colonoscopy test?

Once your first colonoscopy screening is finished and you awaken from the anesthesia, our Phoenix, AZ gastrointestinal team will discuss any discoveries or the need for additional tests with you. If we do find an issue that requires further analysis, we will devise a treatment program individualized for your unique concerns. We strongly suggest that you have a friend or relative escort you home following your procedure. Once the effects of the sedative have passed, you should find yourself able to perform normal daily activities and resume your regular diet within 24 hours. In certain instances, patients experience a few mild aftereffects for a few days, such as cramping, bloating, and excess gas. If you are affected by extreme discomfort, fever, or bleeding, please seek medical care immediately.

How often should I receive a colonoscopy?

Medical experts recommend that patients who have an average risk of getting colorectal cancer start receiving colonoscopy screenings at age 45. Additional colorectal cancer evaluations should take place at ten-year intervals up through 75 years of age. Following age 75, every person should consult their GI practitioner regarding screening procedures that best suit their medical needs.

Why else should I have routine colon screenings?

In addition to detecting early colorectal cancer, colonoscopy screenings can also help doctors determine the potential reasons for other digestive issues, such as chronic bowel movement changes (loose stools and/or constipation), bleeding and anemia, hemorrhoids, reasons for abdominal/anorectal pain, and abrupt or unintentional weight loss. The highly skilled gastrointestinal specialists at Arizona Digestive Health offer the latest in advanced techniques and therapies to diagnose and treat a wide range of diseases impacting GI health.

Where can I set up my initial colonoscopy in Phoenix, AZ?

Periodic colon and rectal cancer screenings are the best option for diagnosing this GI disease. If you are over the age of 45 and have an average risk of colon or rectal cancer, we encourage you to arrange for your first colonoscopy at Arizona Digestive Health. Contact our friendly team today to book a colonoscopy consultation with one of our Phoenix, AZ gastroenterologists.

Women’s Health and Colorectal Cancer Risk

Women’s Health and Colorectal Cancer Risk

Summary: Colorectal cancer begins in the large intestine. Getting routine colonoscopies can allow for an early diagnosis and improve a patient’s prognosis.


After cancer of the breast, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related death in women. Making up the majority of the large intestine, the colon collects water, vitamins, and minerals from remnants of food that have migrated through the small intestine. The last segment of the large intestine is called the rectum. In some cases, polyps (small growths) form in the inner lining of the colon or rectum. These polyps generally carry little to no symptoms, although intestinal growths can transition into colon or rectal cancer. Since they are highly similar, colon and rectal cancer are frequently classified together.

Periodic colon cancer screenings can detect signs of colon and rectal cancer early on and significantly enhance a person’s health prognosis. You can book a colonoscopy procedure and other forms of colorectal cancer screenings at Arizona Digestive Health. Partner with our gastrointestinal (GI) specialists in Phoenix, AZ to guard against colorectal cancer and other gastric diseases.

Signs and symptoms of colon and rectal cancer

Colorectal cancer starts in the large intestine or rectum. Many individuals who have colon or rectal cancer will exhibit no symptoms in the beginning stages. The individuals who do exhibit signs or symptoms could notice the following:

  • Ongoing abdominal cramping or pain
  • A difference in bowel habits
  • Blood present in stool or rectal bleeding
  • Unintentional loss of weight

In the event that you or a loved one is experiencing one or more of these symptoms, reach out to Arizona Digestive Health in Phoenix, AZ right away to speak with a gastroenterologist.

If a malignant polyp invades into the outside wall of the large bowel, it can gain access to the circulatory or lymph system and migrate to additional areas of the body. Individuals whose colon or rectal cancer has metastasized outside of the large bowel have significantly smaller odds of survival than individuals whose cancer stays localized, making early diagnosis and medical intervention vital.

What are common colon and rectal cancer risk factors?

While any individual can develop colon or rectal cancer, a number of conditions might put some people at an elevated risk. Common risk factors for colon cancer are as follows:

  • A family history of colon cancer
  • Use of tobacco products
  • Use of alcohol
  • Being overweight
  • Being over 50
  • A personal history of inflammatory bowel disease

People who have such risks should receive periodic screenings for colon or rectal cancer, such as with routine colonoscopies.

How is colon or rectal cancer detected?

Various approaches to colon cancer screening may be conducted for patients at risk of developing the condition. Such screening processes include blood tests, fecal analysis, and various forms of screening tests. To perform a colonoscopy a GI specialist places an elongated device containing a camera into the large intestine to screen for the presence of abnormalities, like polyps in the colon. If polyps are discovered during the conduction of a colonoscopy, they can be excised at the time of the procedure and later biopsied for signs of cancer. When colon cancer has been diagnosed, further evaluations can be carried out to ascertain if the cancer has spread and help determine which treatment options might offer the ideal course of care.

In what way is colon or rectal cancer treated?

Treatment for colon cancer will be determined based on the stage, size, and location of the cancer and might include surgery to remove, radiation treatment, and chemotherapy. Polyps in the colon might take around 10 –15 years to develop into cancer, which means when a polyp is found in the early stages, it can commonly be excised before it even becomes cancerous. Among people who have localized colon cancer and get treatment, the five-year survival rate is approximately 90%. A routine colonoscopy can save a patient’s life; however, around one-third of adults in the country do not maintain periodic screenings for colon cancer.

Schedule a colorectal cancer screening in Phoenix, AZ

Though it is the second-highest cause of cancer-related deaths among women, colorectal cancer is treatable when caught early on and simple to identify through a periodic colonoscopy. Patients who are over the age of 50 or who have other medical concerns that raise their risk of colorectal cancer should set up a routine colonoscopy procedure. Arizona Digestive Health uses the most modern technology and techniques to support gastrointestinal health, and our team of experts operates on a patient-centered mentality. To learn more surrounding colon and rectal cancer or any additional digestive health concern, get in touch with Arizona Digestive Health in Phoenix, AZ today.