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Unlocking Cancer Protection: Colonoscopy, When And How Often?

Colonoscopy, a procedure crucial for examining the large intestine, plays a pivotal role in detecting colorectal conditions such as inflammation, polyps, growths, and cancerous lesions. Its significance in cancer screening, especially for individuals with a history of colorectal cancer or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), cannot be overstated.

For those previously diagnosed with colorectal cancer, annual colonoscopies are recommended for the first five years post-diagnosis. Afterward, the frequency may be adjusted based on the patient's condition and medical history. In the general population, screening is typically advised for individuals aged 50 and above, with some doctors suggesting starting as early as age 45 due to rising colorectal cancer rates among young individuals.

A recent study published in JAMA has sparked debate by proposing that healthy individuals with no family history of colorectal cancer and negative previous colonoscopies can extend their screening interval to 15 years. However, individual risk factors must be considered, as there is no one-size-fits-all approach.

Patients with IBD face an elevated risk of developing colorectal cancer, necessitating more frequent screenings. After ten years of IBD onset, annual colonoscopies are recommended.

Regional epidemiology and healthcare guidelines also influence screening frequency. While colonoscopy remains crucial in Western countries, where colorectal cancer prevails, certain Asian populations prioritize gastric cancer screening due to its higher prevalence.

In conclusion, the frequency of colonoscopy screenings varies based on individual risk factors, medical history, and evolving guidelines, highlighting the personalized approach required for effective colorectal cancer prevention and early detection.

Source: The Indian Express, The Hindu



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