The Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide
Diagnostic Tests - Colonoscopy
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What is the test?

  • In colonoscopy, an endoscope is passed through the anus and all the way up through the entire colon (also called the large intestine) so that the doctor can see any abnormalities. This screening test is used to find early cancers and potentially cancerous polyps (growths on the colon lining). With colonoscopy, the doctor can immediately remove polyps and take biopsies of suspicious tissue. You should have regular screening for colon cancer starting at age 50, using either colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy . Many people wonder which test is right for them.

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