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Colonoscopies are performed as a screening for colorectal cancer and other problems. It’s a simple and safe outpatient procedure in which your doctor uses a thin, flexible tube with a light and camera attached to carefully examine your large intestine, particularly the colon.

All men and women without a family history of colorectal cancer should begin colorectal cancer screenings at age 45, according to the American Cancer Society. If you have certain risk factors, you may need to be screened earlier than 45.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor immediately.

  • Blood in or on your stool
  • Frequent and unattributed pain, aches or cramps in your stomach
  • A change in bowel habits, like having stools that are narrower than usual
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Unexplained weight loss
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