Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.
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Should I Get A Colonoscopy Before 50?

Monday, 28 Jun 2010 03:33 PM


Question: I'm 48. My mother's mother had colon and lung cancer, and my mother had breast cancer. Given my history, I wanted to get a colonoscopy, but my doctor says there's no reason for that procedure prior to turning 50. Do you concur?

Dr. Hibberd's Answer:

I understand your concern, especially with your family history. Proper screening involves accurately stratifying your level of risk based on your personal, family, and medical history.

Current guidelines are based upon accurate screening of your individual risk of developing this condition. For those with average risk, the most recent guidelines call for screening to begin at age 50. Your doctor is apparently following the most recent guidelines in his recommendation to you. These guidelines are intended to provide a minimum threshold for screening.

This does not mean you should be denied your request for a colonoscopy. In my opinion, your risk is not average. Many of us harbor polyps in our bowels that produce no symptoms and are often found on our first colonoscopy. You will have great peace of mind with a normal colonoscopy, and I recommend you readdress this with your doctor.

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