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Why a Colonoscopy Can Save Your Life

Why a Colonoscopy Can Save Your Life

Colonoscopies aren’t something people like to talk about, but they should be on the top of your to-do list. They’re the best way to detect colorectal cancer in its early stages when it is most treatable, and they can be lifesaving.

Every year, more people die from colorectal cancers than either breast or prostate cancer. Colonoscopies detect cancer early and allow doctors to remove up to 98 percent of colorectal tumors. Early detection really does save lives for people with colorectal cancer. Due to advancements in detection and treatment, the colorectal cancer death rate has been dropping for more than 20 years.

When to Start Screening

Follow these guidelines to understand when you should be screened:

  • Everyone needs to get regular colonoscopies beginning at age 50.
  • People with average risk should have a colonoscopy every 10 years, beginning at age 50 and continuing through age 75.
  • Individuals with increased risk are often advised to begin screenings before age 50, and/or get them more frequently.
  • If you are at increased risk, speak with your doctor about the most appropriate screening schedule for you.

For more information about what exactly a colonoscopy involves, see this handy infographic.

There are no ifs, ands, or “butts” about it: a screening colonoscopy is the best line of defense. If you’re 50 years old or at a higher risk for colon cancer, now’s the time to make an appointment. Call our experts at Altru’s Gastroenterology Clinic at 701.780.6533 or visit

If the cost of a colonoscopy is standing in your way, Altru Health System may have funding available through its No-Cost Colonoscopy program.