Colonoscopy is an extremely effective procedure for detecting and treating colorectal cancer and precancerous polyps within the colon. All men and women aged 50 years or older are advised to have a colonoscopy at least once every 10 years, as this relatively simple screen has proven successful in detecting up to 95 percent of all cancers and pre-cancerous conditions of the colon. With the patient under light sedation, the gastroenterologist uses a narrow tube with a tiny lighted camera at the end to visualize the lining of the colon and determine if there are any suspicious growths. The scope itself can blow air into the colon in order to expand it and improve the physician’s ability to see inside. Any abnormal growths can then be removed for biopsy, with pre-cancerous polyps also eliminated during the procedure. Your doctor’s office will provide you with instructions for preparing for a colonoscopy on the day prior to your procedure.