Dr. Randel Stolee, Perham Health general surgeon
Q: Do I need colonoscopy?
A: If you are 50 or older, you should have a colonoscopy at least every 10 years.
Q: How does that timeline change if I have colon cancer in my family?
A: If you have a first-degree relative (mother, father, sister, brother) who has had/has colon cancer, you should start screening 10 years before their age when they got the cancer. After that, you should be screened every 5 years.
Q: Why can’t I just use cologuard?
A: Cologuard is for people who refuse colonoscopy. It does not prevent colon cancer, as colonoscopy can. It is good for finding cancer but that is not our main goal.
Colonoscopy finds the precancerous polyp, removes it, and therefore prevents colon cancer. Cologuard is not designed for polyp detection.
Q: What if no one in my family has colon cancer?
A: 60% of people that get colon cancer have no family history. This is why it is important that everyone is screened.
Q: But I have no symptoms!
A: Most cancer does not cause symptoms until it is advanced.
Screening can find cancers before they have spread so far or, in the case of colonoscopy, prevent the cancer altogether.
Q: Isn’t it uncomfortable?
A: At Perham Health, we use sedation, so you can expect a pleasant nap during your colonoscopy.